Many adults prefer a sophisticated, well-crafted and warm dessert to end a meal, but children instinctively understand that cold is the way to go. For those of you gourmands who want to channel this feeling, here are six frozen desserts that will satisfy the most rabid sweet-tooth.
Ice cream – Traditional ice cream is a culinary concoction made from milk or cream along with added flavors. In addition, fresh fruits or artificial flavorings are added to impart a particular flavor to this frigid treat. To be accurately described as ice cream, a product must contain at least ten percent milk fat. This requirement is what gives ice cream its uniquely rich taste and smooth texture.
Frozen yogurt – Frozen yogurt can also be made into a dessert, but the use of yogurt instead of cream significantly changes the texture and the taste. In fact, it is easily distinguishable from ice cream due to its overtly tart flavor. Frozen yogurt is also slightly creamier in texture than regular ice cream and is often used as a substitute for the “soft-serve” variety.
Gelato – Containing a little less butterfat and more sugar than other styles of ice cream, the Italian-derived gelato is still discernible as ice cream by most Americans. This frozen treat contains less whipped-in air – making it denser in texture – and more robust in flavoring than other kinds of frozen desserts and is thus a favorite of dessert gourmands.
Sherbet – Sherbet contains a relatively small amount of dairy product (about 1.2 percent vs. 10 percent or more for ice cream) and is most often solely fruit-flavored. Sherbet is made by mixing fruit juice, fruit pieces, some flavorings – natural or otherwise – and a small amount of cream. The mixture is then heated very briefly at a very high temperature to enhance the flavors of the final product.
Sorbet – Sorbet is different from traditional ice cream in that it does not contain any milk or other dairy products. Instead, it is produced from sugar-infused water with fruit flavouring and puree and sometimes with honey or an alcoholic liqueur. Sorbet is quite light and most people enjoy it as an afternoon snack on a hot day instead of as an after dinner treat.
Granita – Similar to sorbet, granita – also known as water ice – is a frozen dessert also solely made from from sugar, water and various flavorings. Originally created in Sicily in southern Italy, granita is not a derivative of sorbet. In fact, its texture is significantly chunkier than its northern neighbor, depending on how it is prepared.
There is the gist of it. True ice cream has the most dairy products in it while yogurt, gelato and sherbet are somewhere in the middle and sorbet and Italian ice bring up the rear with no dairy in them at all. Regardless of their actual composition, each of these frozen products provide a sweet treat on a summer day in the park or after dinner while sitting on the patio.