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Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book Paperback – April 25, 2012
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"I see this as my little child, in a way. This is fantastic." - Ferran Adria
"These guys make their living creating the most fantastic ice cream and the only possible reasons that they'd sell you the recipes for their bourbon-and-cornflake flavor and the others in this book are that a) they are banking on the fact that the people who buy recipe books are too goddamn lazy to ever make the recipes or b) they are on a nihilistic quest to destroy their own business or c) they are completely insane."
--Ira Glass, NPR's This American LIfe
About the Author
Jake Godby is chef and owner of Humphry Slocombe. He lives in San Francisco.
Sean Vahey is operations manager and owner of Humphry Slocombe. He lives in San Francisco.
Paolo Lucchesi is columnist of Inside Scoop for the San Francisco Chronicle. He lives in San Francisco.
Frankie Frankeny is a San Francisco–based food and lifestyle photographer.
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Another interesting difference in their ice cream base is the relatively small amount of egg yolks compared to most other recipes I have seen. This can be a bit of a problem for the home cook as its easy for someone like myself, who only makes ice cream once a month at the most, to slightly over cook the custard and end up straining out a bit of scrambled egg. If you end up over cooking the base too much the ice cream doesn't set well, so adding an additional yolk or too might be useful to the home cook who doesn't make ice cream several times a day' most other recipes I've read use at least 5 yolks per quart, the recipes in this book require only 3.
The primary reason I bought the book was for some of the shops more famous (or infamous) recipes such as secret breakfast (the bourbon and corn flake recipe). Unfortunately the bourbon ice cream, probably the reason everyone bought the book, contains a major typo and calls for double the bourbon necessary. I think someone has already pointed this out, but its worth repeating as the ice cream doesn't fully set with the appropriate amount and I can't imagine what would happen if you put the written amount; I imagine it would not set at all! to re-iterate the correct amount is 1/4 cup per quart and not the 1/2 cup written in the book. I happened to see the correction on the shops twitter feed around the release of the book, but I imagine no one woulds know otherwise.
I also wish the book include gram measurements as some other books do. I find it very convenient to weigh everything in one or two bowls rather than have to clean multiple measuring cups and was a little surprised that a cookbook by a former pastry chef at a fine dining restaurant did not do so (the owner used to be the pastry chef at Coi in SF a 2 star michelin restaurant). I would also agree with the reviewer who mentioned this book could have been a little more detailed about technique as it appears obvious it is meant for a home cook.
For me the book has served its purpose in teaching me the secrets to my favorite flavors, but I can't imagine someone not a fan of the shop having any interest and would agree with the reviewer that recommends the David Lebovitz book The Perfect Scoop as the best all around ice cream book - Lebovitz other dessert books and blog are great too! I also appreciate the story behind the shop and other details of the book that someone unfamiliar would probably not care about.
I can't speak to the amount of salt in the other recipes in the book (obviously, I'm pro-salt) but I've made and loved the olive oil ice cream recipe in this book – it's more like a subtle citrus ice cream, perfect with toasted or candied pecans on top. Not all the recipes work perfectly: the strawberry balsamic ice cream didn't set for me. The first step in Chocolate Smoked Salt, caramelizing the sugar, always seems like a bit of a disaster in the pan, but once the hot cream mixture is in, the lumps of caramel do eventually melt just fine. I'd strongly recommend using an immersion blender to emulsify the chilled ice cream base – it makes life so much easier.
I love and frequently use the Jeni's and Bi-Rite Creamery (Sweet Scoops and Sugar Cones) cookbooks as well. Jeni's is the platonic ideal of ice cream cookbooks; Bi-Rite Creamery is good for children or a really sweet tooth (and the lemon ice cream is amazing!). Humphry Slocombe is a good book for people who already have some ice cream making experience and a healthy skepticism. But neither Jeni's nor Bi-Rite Creamery is going to give you Chocolate Smoked Salt.