Those who know me well can tell you I’ve got a real thing going on with my ice cream maker. My husband could eat ice cream and various other frozen desserts 365 days a year. His weakness for the cool stuff has forced me to become well trained in how to prepare the many varieties that are available and now you can begin the journey as well with this Frozen Dessert primer from contributor Tiffany Griffin. Be sure to check out Tiffany’s month long celebration of frozen treats on her blog Como Water as well. ~ Heather Watkins Jones
June is frozen treats month on Como Water, and although I haven’t actually posted any frozen treats yet (they are coming soon!), I wanted to share the similarities and differences between some of my favorite frozen desserts with all of you. After reading below, you’ll never call “gelato” “ice cream” again! And if you’re looking to make a simple, easy (and vegan!) frozen treat yourself, check out my salted-herbed watermelon granita!
Sorbet: A frozen dessert usually made from fruit and/or fruit juice. It may also contain alcohol and is thought to be Roman or Middle Eastern in origin. It’s made in an ice cream maker, like Italian ice.
Italian Ice: This frozen dessert is also known as water ice. It’s made with water flavored with fruit and is similar to sorbet. It is made by the same process by which ice cream is made—by freezing the ingredients while mixing them.
Shaved Ice: This is an ice-based dessert made by shaving a block of ice. After the ice is shaved, you add flavored syrup and enjoy! You can also pour sweetened condensed milk or coconut cream, rather than syrup. NOM!
Granita: I am kinda obsessed with granitas. Sicilian in origin, granitas are a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water, and flavoring. The technique is simple (although time consuming). Basically, freeze your mixture until it is solid, scrap with a fork, refreeze and repeat 2-3 times. As nana would say, “Just Lovely.”
Frozen Yogurt: Frozen yogurt is a uniquely American invention (New England to be exact! :D) and is a frozen dessert made from yogurt. It’s more tart than ice cream and is typically lower in fat.
Sherbet: Very similar to sorbet, sherbet is a frozen dessert made primarily of fruit juice, sugar, and water, but also contains a small amount of dairy—usually milk.
Gelato: Like frozen yogurt, gelato is all the craze these days. Gelato, technically is the Italian word for ice cream. In the US, it is distinguished from “American” ice cream because it is lighter and has a lower butterfat content. Gelato usually has 4-8% butterfat, whereas ice cream usually has 14%. Gelato tends to be sweeter than American ice cream though. Gelato often also contains eggs or egg yolks. Gelatos are dense and intensely flavorful!
Ice Cream: Ice cream is that treat we all know and love. It is a frozen dessert made from dairy and combined with other ingredients, flavorings, and sweeteners. To make it, you use an ice cream maker, where the ingredients are churned slowly into a lovely creamy, thick, scoopable masterpiece!
Frozen Custard: This dessert is similar to ice cream, but it is made with eggs, in addition to cream and sugar. I had never heard of frozen custard until I lived in Michigan. But after trying it, I learned that it is miiiiiighty tasty! :)
The Blacker The Berry Food “Resident Vegetarian” Tiffany Griffin is a Psychologist by day and successful food blogger in her other waking hours. Check out Como Water to keep up with all of her veggie eating adventures.