We sure do love our frozen desserts in the summer. Americans slurp down about 1.5 billion gallons of the sweet treats each year. Our yummy indulgences are basically made up of a liquid — usually either milk or water— plus air for texture and consistency. The different combinations and ratios result in a refreshing treat for every mood and taste.
Want an icy frozen dessert? Try a granita – made from water, sugar and fruit juice, it is served slightly thawed and slushy. The name is inspired by its grainy texture.
Want something slightly milkier? Add a small amount of milk or cream to the basic granita mixture, and you get a delicious sherbet. Believe it or not, by law, it has to contain no more than 2% butterfat.
If you’re in the mood for a sweet and tangy frozen yogurt, you’ll get an ice cream base of milk, cream and sweetener with yogurt added in.
Feel like going traditional? Your basic ice cream is made from egg yolks, milk, cream and sugar. If you want the premium stuff, for more richness, density and calories, you’re asking for up to 15% butterfat, compared to 10% in the regular fare. These ingredients are cooked together into a rich custard. Once cooled, the mixture is churned at a fairly high speed to blend in air and to increase its volume. You think you’re getting a lot to eat, but up to 60% of the volume of ice cream in the container is actually air.
In Italy, the word for ‘frozen’ is gelato. Gelato is basically an ice cream with a rich twist. It starts with whole milk, with little or no cream, and very little added air. Ironically, it has less fat than traditional ice cream, yet tastes richer because the flavors are so intense. Having less air, it is denser than its cold cousin and, because it’s served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream, it tastes even creamier. Talk about sweet delights!
There you have it: cool treats for every craving. Try something new and enjoy the flavors of summer!