Fresh and Refreshing
Premium ice creams are made with fresh cream (not condensed or powdered milk), real eggs, and natural flavorings. Quality ingredients aside, lesser ice creams also have more air whipped in. As much as half the carton may be air, in fact. More air--or "overrun"--means softer ice cream that scoops more easily and melts more quickly. Premium ice creams have very little air added;
gelato has no air added at all
. (There’s a minimal amount of air that's incorporated naturally because of the churning process.)
Gelato and some premium ice creams are so dense that they require a slightly higher serving temperature, a perfect point where your scoop is firm but not hard and not so soft that it melts immediately. Gelato recipes usually include more egg yolks, more milk and less cream. It actually has
than regular ice cream, but gelato's low overrun makes for an extremely dense, rich and creamy treat.
(Fruit Sorbet) has become popular in many Italian restaurants and is sometimes served half- way through the meal to separate the fish and meat courses and act as a palate cleanser. It also makes a wonderful dessert.
Sorbets are all about fruit. With no milk, cream or eggs, they depend only on sugar, lemon juice and fresh fruit for flavor. Elegantly simple and refreshingly tart, sorbets were the rage during Victorian years, when they were served as palate cleansers between rich, heavy courses. A sorbetto, the more intense Italian version, generally has more fruit and less water, resulting in a softer, less icy texture. The key is FRESH fruit, for sorbets made with cooked fruit will taste like cold jam rather than the best of summer frozen in a scoop.
A bit of History
Roman Empirethe Roman Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar is said to have sent slaves to the mountains to bring snow and ice to cool and freeze the fruit drinks he was so fond of.
The Italian Marco Polo returned from his famous journey to the Far East with a recipe for making water ices resembling modern day sherbets.
The myth continues with the Italian chefs of the young Catherine de'Medici taking this magical dish to France when she went there in 1533 to marry the Duc d'Orleans.
Ice cream appears in Italy as ice and salt are discovered to make a freezing combination.
1625 - 1649
The French chef of King Charles I of England concocted an apparently new dish for a sumptous state banquet. It was cold and resembled fresh- fallen snow but was much creamier and sweeter than any other after- dinner dessert. The guests were delighted, as was Charles, who summoned the cook and asked him not to divulge the recipe for his frozen cream. The King wanted the delicacy to be served only at the Royal table and offered the cook 500 pounds a year to keep it that way. Sometime later, however, poor Charles fell into disfavour with his people and was beheaded in 1649. But by that time, the secret of the frozen cream remained a secret no more. The cook, named DeMirco, had not kept his promise.
It seems to have been called iced cream at first (1673), in line with such expressions as iced tea and iced coffee.
1774 In 1774,
a caterer named Phillip Lenzi announced in a New York newspaper that he had just arrived from London and would be offering for sale various confections, including ice cream.
Ice cream is served at a Philadelphia party given by the French envoy to honor the new American republic.
Dolley Madison, wife of U.S. President James Madison, served ice cream at her husband's Inaugural Ball in 1813.
The first improvement in the manufacture of ice cream (from the handmade way in a large bowl) was given to us by a New Jersey woman, Nancy Johnson, who in 1846 invented the hand-crankedfreezer. This device is still familiar to many. By turning the freezer handle, they agitated a container of ice cream mixin a bed of salt and ice until the mix was frozen. Because Nancy Johnson lacked the foresight to have her invention patented, her name does not appear on the patent records. A similar type of freezer was, however, patented on May 30, 1848, by a Mr. Young who at least had the courtesy to call it the "Johnson Patent Ice Cream Freezer".
Commercial production was begun in North America in Baltimore, Maryland, 1851, by Mr. Jacob Fussell, now known as the father of the American ice cream industry.
Italian immigrant Italo Marchiony patents the first ice cream cone mold.
1926 the first commercially-successful continuous process freezer was perfected. The continuous freezer, developed by Clarence Vogt, and later ones produced by other manufacturers, has allowed the ice cream industry to become a mass producer of its product.