Monday, June 29, 2015

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream by Laura O'Neill, Ben Van Leeuwen, & Pete Van Leeuwen with Olga Massov

So apparently July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday in July (July 19 this year) is National Ice Cream Day. Who knew? That - and summertime in general - makes the release of the new Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream cookbook pretty perfectly timed.

I can remember homemade ice cream as a kid: it was an event. An EVENT. It meant breaking out that big bucket with the blister inducing crank. You needed serious muscle to get that going - and to get an actual edible serving of ice cream. As you can imagine it wasn't something we did very often.

These days homemade ice cream is MUCH easier with most of the machines on the market doing the major work for you. We got one of our very own as part of our wedding registry but after using it to make sherbet and slushies few times it ended up being shelved and fairly forgotten.

Until now!

The Van Leeuwens run their very own ice cream shop in Brooklyn, so the name is likely known by many in those parts. Way over here in the midwest it was their cookbook that served as introduction for me. And what a cookbook! With a focus on quality ingredients and phenomenal flavors, the Van Leeuwens have inspired me to break out the machine and get to making ice cream again.

Many of the recipes are custard based but the authors provide perfect step-by-step instructions for pretty foolproof results. Recipes for additions like Homemade Marshmallows, Candied Citrus Peels, and Pistachio Shortbread are included and there's a chapter on other icy treats like Sorbet and Granitas, too.

Two of my favorite things about the book, though, are the vegan chapter and the egg whites chapter. Now, I don't have any dietary restrictions but I know plenty of people who do and I love the fact that the authors have included an entire chapter devoted to vegan ice creams (and a recipe for making your own Cashew Milk). It means not having to miss out on all the fun if you can't eat dairy or eggs. Even better, for me, is the chapter on what the heck to do with all those leftover egg whites! Custard ice creams require yolks - lots of yolks - and I personally can't stand the idea of that many egg white omelets or of tossing the egg whites out.

Whether you're devoted to the classics or are an adventurous ice cream lover, I promise you this book has something (many things) to tempt your palate. There are chocolate options galore - Milk, Spicy, Mocha Almond Fudge, and White Chocolate with Almond-Cocoa Nib Brittle, to name a few - and favorites like Vanilla, Strawberry, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, but there are also some truly unique and imaginative flavors as well. We had to test the Sour Cream Blueberry and the Honey with Roasted Fig and Walnut immediately. (Both are AMAZING but the Blueberry was the overwhelming favorite. The sour cream in the base is magical!) I even tried my hand at the Citrus-Scented Angel Food Cake, which given my baking issues required quite a bit of courage. I'm pleased to announce that the recipe seems to be cursed kitchen proof.

Note: You need an ice cream maker to use this book, but if you've got that and a desire for truly awesome ice cream, you're set!

Rating: 5/5

2 comments:

Diane Coto said...

I love home-made ice cream. Never get it nearly enough.
@dino0726 from 
FictionZeal - Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

Becky LeJeune said...

Diane, these are amazing! We've tried a few so far - we had an ice cream party for friends and I made some for a local food swap too. Everything has turned out perfectly and tastes fabulous!