Cooking The Book

Why You Should Never Buy Ice Cream At The Grocery Store Ever Again

David Lebovitz’s popular cookbook The Perfect Scoop proves that homemade is always better.

The Perfect Scoop cookbook by David Lebovitz on blue background

DIY ice cream. Photo, The Perfect Scoop.

The Book

The Perfect Scoop, Revised and Updated by David Lebovitz, $24

The Promise

Homemade ice cream is way better than anything you can buy in-store. That’s the message Paris-based American pastry chef David Lebovitz has been peddling for the past decade thanks to his cookbook The Perfect Scoop. This best-seller is dedicated solely to frozen desserts (and ice cream-adjacent recipes for sauces, mix-ins and cones). To celebrate its tenth anniversary, Lebovitz updated his now-classic collection by adding new recipes and tweaking existing favourites.

Lebovitz stresses that making ice cream at home is a relatively easy endeavour. All you need is a handful of ingredients, an ice cream maker (any will do) and patience. Since I’ve been relying on store-bought pints to get my fix, I was eager to see if the stuff I churned out would be better than my beloved Kawartha Dairy Moose Tracks.

First Impression

How would I ever choose just a handful of recipes to test? Every single page in The Perfect Scoop features a mouth-watering recipe that I’d be happy to try. From classic ice cream flavours like chocolate and rum-raisin to creative pairings such as prune-Armagnac and Roquefort-honey, there’s seriously something for every palate in this cookbook — including a slew of boozy sorbets and granitas perfect for long summer days.

Lebovitz has chapters for dairy-based treats (ice creams, frozen yogurts and gelatos), sorbets, granitas (shaved ice), sauces and toppings, mix-ins and vessels, like cones and cookie bowls. So not only is this a cookbook, it’s basically a DIY scoop shop manual.

malted milk ice cream in waffle cone

A cone filled with malted milk ice cream. Photo, Amy Grief

Sample Recipes

Since I couldn’t make every recipe in the book, I chose three frozen treats (plus one sauce) that I wanted to try ASAP.

  • Malted Milk Ice Cream (p. 63)
  • Tiramisu Ice Cream (p. 75)
  • Cucumber-Gin Sorbet (p. 140)
  • Mocha Sauce (p. 179)

Do The Recipes Actually Work?

To say I was excited to try these recipes would be an understatement, so I quickly got started with the Malted Milk Ice Cream, which Lebovitz admitted is one of his all-time favourites. There’s a lot of love out there for this recipe — writer and food blogger Adam Roberts even wrote a song about it. Suffice to say, I had to see what the fuss was about.

Ice cream in ice cream maker

Freshly churned malted milk ice cream. Photo, Amy Grief.

Lebovitz explains there are two main types of hard ice cream: French-style, which has an egg-yolk custard base, and Philadelphia-style. The latter contains no eggs and is a mixture of cream, sugar and other flavours or mix-ins. The Malted Milk Ice Cream recipe calls for making a rich, yolky custard — clearly I was in French-style ice cream territory.

I was a little nervous for the custard; if you don’t do it properly, you can scramble the egg yolk. But I followed Lebovitz’s instructions closely and after mixing my custard with cream, vanilla and malted milk powder, there was nary a scrambled egg bit in sight. I let this mixture chill overnight (Lebovitz says to chill it “thoroughly”) and then churned it in an ice cream maker (I used the Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2-quart Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker). Once it was frozen, I mixed in chopped Maltesers and immediately tasted it. Was it worth the hype? Absolutely! I could easily down a whole pint of this delightfully sweet, retro flavour.

Bowl of maltesers on ice cream

All the Maltesers! Photo, Amy Grief

Next up was Tiramisu. I was drawn to this six-ingredient recipe because it called for two cups of mascarpone cheese blitzed with cream, sugar, coffee liqueur (I used Kahlúa) and rum. After letting it chill in the fridge and running it through the ice cream maker, I spooned it into a container, layering it with the easy-to-make Mocha Sauce.

So how did it taste? Like a classic tiramisu, sans lady fingers. This was the Chatelaine Kitchen favourite.

Tiramisu ice cream in a glass.

Tiramisu ice cream. Photo, Amy Grief.

For something decidedly less creamy, I went for sorbet, a dairy-free frozen treat, usually made with fruit and sugar. I picked the Cucumber-Gin recipe, which was basically a frozen gin and tonic. I made a simple syrup with tonic and sugar and then blended it with gin, cucumbers and basil leaves — the recipe calls for six mint leaves, but I didn’t have any on hand. Thankfully, the basil was a more than adequate substitute.

I let the fresh-smelling mixture chill and then let it take a spin the ice cream maker. I was left with a delightful-looking pile of green slush. This bright sorbet would pair perfectly with a patio — I could see myself reaching for this recipe all summer long.

green slush in a glass

A frozen G&T. Photo, Amy Grief.

The Verdict

I went from never making ice cream (why DIY when you can pick up a decadent pint from the store?) to ordering an ice cream maker, because homemade is a billion times better than anything I’ve ever bought. Sure, making ice cream takes a while because you have to chill your base before churning it, but there’s very little work required. If you can whisk, operate a blender and get your hands on an ice cream maker (trust me, it’s worth it), you can make ice cream. And not just ice cream — really, really good ice cream.

Ease of Use

Effort: Low-to-medium Skill level: Beginner

Who To Buy It For

  • Ice cream aficionados
  • Anyone with a sweet tooth
  • An aspiring Ben or Jerry

Where It Will Live

Tucked away until an ice cream craving hits, and on your counter for the entire summer.

Watch: How to make ice cream pops