There's nothing more tragic than melted ice cream and with current summer temperatures that can happen quickly.
Whether you like sorbet, sherbet, gelato, or good old-fashioned ice cream, we can all agree the most refreshing way to enjoy it is on a hot summer day.
Traditional ice cream is a frozen mixture of milk, cream, sugar, flavorings and sometimes eggs. The type of ice cream we are most familiar with is Philadelphia-style ice cream which is a no cook, egg-less version of ice cream created in the late 1700's. It was an adaptation of the European-style of ice cream with contained eggs and was essentially frozen custard.
There are many categories of ice cream and frozen treats and most countries have their own version. The original version, which historians tracked to China around 3000 B.C., became popular in Italy in the 1600's and made its way to America by way of France in the 1700's.
Sorbet, was one of the original forms of ice cream and simply replaces the milk in ice cream with fruit juice or puree. In the original version it sometimes contained egg whites, but unlike French-style ice cream does not have any fat from egg yolks or dairy.
In America sorbet is known as sherbet, a derivative that was originally adapted by the British, that also contains milk and egg whites. The addition of egg whites makes the sorbet smoother and increases its volume.
Also from Italy is gelato and sorbetto. This frozen treat is what Italians equate to ice cream. Gelato contains milk and egg whites, but less sugar than ice cream. The texture is more dense because its production creates less air in the mixture than traditional ice cream.
Sorbetto is made in the same fashion as gelato except it contains no milk and is fruit-flavored.
Semifreddo, also from Italy, is similar to ice cream but does not require an ice cream maker. It contains egg whites and yolks, sugar and cream – all of which is whipped separately and folded together to create a rich frozen custard. Typically, semifreddo is frozen in loaf pans and sliced like bread.
When making homemade ice cream understanding some of the science behind freezing can make a difference in the outcome:
Ice cream is a foam emulsion of ice, fat and air.
Smoothness is related to the size of the ice crystals. The water content in the ingredients begins to freeze and turns into ice crystals.
Ice crystals thicken the mixture and through constant movement the crystals stay small.
Ice cream should be frozen quickly to keep large ice crystals from forming.
Constant churning, rapid hardening, and eggs act as stabilizers and keep the ice crystals small – resulting in a smooth ice cream.
Overrun is the increase in volume due to the incorporation of air when freezing.
Some overrun is necessary for a smooth, light texture. Too much overrun results in an ice cream that is foamy and lacks flavor.
Less expensive and reduced-fat versions of ice cream will have more overrun, or air content.
As the water freezes and ice crystals form the sugar and fat content become more dense. If less fat content is present then more air is mixed in during churning.
High quality ice cream will have an overrun that is as little as 20 percent while less expensive and low-fat versions can have an overrun percentage as high as 90 percent.
Industry standards often mention mouth feel when rating ice cream. This refers to the balance between smoothness, overrun and flavor when the ice cream is eaten.
For optimal mouth feel ice cream should sit at room temperature for five minutes or microwaved for 10 seconds. Its temperature needs to be brought up to 8 to 10 degrees to become fluid and flavorful enough to melt in your mouth.
Only remove from the freezer the amount you plan to serve. Any melting and refreezing that occurs outside the freezer can result in grainy ice cream and the formation of large ice crystals.
Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream Sandwich
Soft Peanut butter cookies
Vanilla ice cream
Spread a 1 inch layer of ice cream on top of a cookie. Top ice cream with banana slices and another cookie. Press banana slices into the sides of the ice cream sandwich. Place in the freezer for at least an hour to set.
Source: Christine Gardner
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 cups peeled, seeded, chopped cantaloupe
Combine sugar and water in medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil. Transfer to 9x13 pan and chill until cold, about 1 hour. Puree cantaloupe in blender until smooth. Add to sugar syrup and stir until well blended. Freeze until almost firm, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours. Transfer cantaloupe mixture to large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until fluffy. Return to freezer and freeze until firm (do not stir), at least 3 hours or overnight. (Sorbet can be prepared 3 days ahead.) Cover and keep frozen.
Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine
Honey Almond Semifreddo
2 cups sugar
5 egg yolks
5 egg whites
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup slivered almonds
honey, for drizzling
In a double boiler over medium heat combine the sugar and egg yolks. Whisk for about five minutes until the egg mixture begins to drip off the whisk in ribbon-like strands. Remove from heat and set aside. With a mixer, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Set aside. Whip creams to stiff peaks. In a large bowl carefully fold together the egg yolk mixture, whipped egg whites and whipped cream. Line two loaf pans with plastic wrap. Pour in the combined mixture and with a spatula smooth the top. Sprinkle with almonds and drizzle with honey. Refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight. Remove from the molds by carefully pulling the plastic wrap. Remove the plastic and slice.
Recipe by Christine Gardner
Chocolate-Strawberry Gelato Cupcake Cones
1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 box of 12 ice cream cones
6 strawberries, halved
2 pints of strawberry gelato or sorbet
Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Place the cones in a 9x13 pan. Place half a strawberry in the bottom of each cone. Spoon batter into the cones until they are about 85 percent full. Bake at the temperature indicated on the box for 20 to 30 minutes until the cake is puffed up and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove the pan of cones from the oven and allow to cool. After cooling, using a serrated knife, level off any cake that is overflowing the top of the cone. Top the cones with a scoop of gelato. Serve immediately or store in the freezer.
Mom's Homeade Peach Ice Cream
2 quarts half & half
2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 cups peeled, fresh peaches, mashed
This recipe requires no cooking. Place all of the ingredients directly into the ice cream maker and follow manufacturer directions.
Recipe by Jacki Gardner