Review by Hayley Anderton
When Gelupo Gelato arrived, it was so hot I couldn’t muster the energy to make the big supermarket trip to get the necessary ingredients to start experimenting, and now it’s cold and raining the prospect of getting soaked in pursuit of gelato I’m to cold to eat is unappealing. Basically, I haven’t recipe tested anything in this book yet – but I am a fan of its approach, and my hopes are high.
I love ice cream and gelato, and as a child of the 70s I feel like it’s a joy that’s grown up with me in this country. The lurid yellow and pink of a childhood raspberry ripple which tasted neither of vanilla nor raspberry might no longer appeal, but the first Italian ice cream (I didn’t know about gelato then) I came across in Edinburgh – almost 40 years ago is a profound taste memory. It was almost certainly a Fior di Latte and the lasting memory of pleasure it evokes was a lot to do with its texture.
Texture is still the key difference between shop bought and homemade in my mind. Entry level ice cream makers have their faults (I find they break down quite quickly) but they’re cheap, don’t take up too much space, and are a lot of fun. Homemade ice cream has the edge on flavour to my mind and knowing exactly what the ingredients are is a bonus. What’s hard to replicate is the texture of shop bought, especially as a lot of homemade ice cream deteriorates in quality quite quickly – mostly best eaten within 48 hours of making (seldom a problem).
The reason I’m quietly excited about Gelupo Gelato is that Jacob Kenedy not only spends time talking about texture, but his ingredient list is sufficiently different to any other recipe I’ve looked at to make me think that his recipes will deliver. The two big factors are that he uses more than one form of sugar and introduces a stabiliser. There are science reasons for this which are explained in the ‘How Gelato Works’ section and which I won’t recap here – the key thing to know is that the alternative sugars are glucose (aka dextrose) which you can buy in liquid form in larger supermarkets from the baking section, or a light runny honey.
The recommended stabiliser is locust bean gum powder – easily available online, with arrowroot or cornflour as an alternative. You’ll also need powdered skimmed milk as well as whole milk. All of these things go into a base bianca which needs to be thoroughly cooled before it goes in the ice cream maker – so basically a good day before. It will keep in the fridge for up to five days though. Making gelato is a lot like making sourdough in terms of thinking ahead, but no one step taking very long.
If this doesn’t sound like too much faff, we’re about to get to the good bit. The recipes here are an excellent mix of classics likely to have all round appeal for the whole family (peach, apricot, chocolate, fior de latte) the slightly more grown up (pumpkin and cinnamon, whisky and vanilla, ricotta and sour cherry) and the delightfully unexpected (chocolate tea and biscuits, pine nut and fennel seed) and a whole lot more in between. There are also granitas, sorbets, and semifreddos so there should be something to appeal to everybody.
There’s also a handy section on flavour combining, and a list at the back of all the recipes which are vegan for quick reference. A table for easily scaling up quantities, and lists of which ices need sorbet syrup, which need base bianca – in case you’ve got some in the fridge that wants using are more useful quick reference tools.
In short, it’s a well laid out, thoughtful book with a lot of flavour inspiration in it. It’s also full of the hope of being able to plan and share things again which is really endearing to me. I’m planning on having a lot of fun with this book over the summer.
Hayley blogs at Desperate Reader.
Jacob Kenedy, Gelupo Gelato (Bloomsbury, 2021). 978-1526615978, 256pp., hardback.
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