Ice Cream, Gelato, Sorbet, Granita, and more...
Frozen desserts come in a number of varieties like ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, sorbet, granita, sherbet, frozen mousse, and parfaits.
Ice cream is a combination of milk or cream, sweeteners, flavorings, and sometimes eggs. Custard style ice cream is made from a custard base in which egg yolks, milk or cream, and sugar are cooked together so that the mixture thickens slightly. It is then cooled and the flavorings are added before it is frozen. Ice cream can also be made without eggs and therefore does not need to be cooked before it is frozen. This type of ice cream is called Philadelphia style and is very rich, but does not have the silky lusciousness that comes from the egg custard. Frozen yogurt, made with yogurt, and ice milk, made with reduced fat milk are both made in this way. Gelato is an Italian style ice cream that has less air and is more rich and dense than American ice cream. It is served a little bit softer than most American style ice creams as well. It is possible to make ice cream at home without an ice cream maker and while it takes longer and requires a bit more work, the results can still be wonderful.
Sorbet, Granita & Sherbet
Frozen fruit desserts such as sorbet, granita, and sherbet have gained in popularity over the years because they have less fat than ice cream, but are still packed with a delicious, satisfying flavor. These desserts are made from pureed fruit, which is usually combined with water and sugar and then frozen. To ensure top quality and flavor, it is best to always use the freshest, ripest fruit possible for your purees. Granitas are similar to shaved ice or fresh snow cones and are literally just sweetened juice which has been allowed to freeze and then is scraped, usually with a fork, into flakes of flavored ice. Granitas are light and refreshing and can be served on their own, or on top of ice cream for an extra special combination of flavors and textures. Sherbet is basically a combination of sorbet and ice cream and most often has a fruit base that has some milk added for a touch of creaminess and richness.
Frozen mousse is simply a mousse that has been placed in the freezer instead of the refrigerator. It has the same airy and light quality as other mousses, but freezing adds a bit of an icy texture to it as well, making it more like a very delicate ice cream.
Parfaits are frozen desserts that are made by layering different flavors of ice cream, and often other ingredients, into a glass for both a dramatic visual effect and delicious combination of flavors.
About the Author
After receiving degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the Culinary Institute of America, Andrea Rappaport moved into a full-time career in the restaurant business. For over 12 years, she worked in various culinary jobs, including as a cook for Wolfgang Puck at Spago, and ultimately as the executive chef and partner of the highly revered San Francisco restaurant Zinzino. For the past seven years, Andrea has worked as the private chef for one family in the San Francisco area, and continues to expand her culinary portfolio by catering, teaching, and consulting.