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What is the Difference between the Cold Desserts: Ice Cream, Gelato, Sorbet, Sherbet, Italian Ice?

Posted Oct 09 2011 12:00am
The Allergy Dude was asked by the mother of a patient today since he has egg and milk allergies what kind of cold desserts he could eat?  What about gelato?  Good questions.  The Allergy Dude confessed he did not know the exact differences between cold desserts (ice cream, gelato, sorbet, sherbet, Italian ice).  Do you?

Here's the answers, courtesy of Wikipedia:
Let's start with what is  (1) ice cream .  It is a mixture of milk and cream, salt, flavors, sweeteners, sometimes fruits, a small amount of egg yolks.  Note, the exact definitions of each dessert depends on the country.  For example, in the U.S., the Food and Drug Adminstration has a strict guideline to distinguish between ice cream and (2) frozen custard .  (Yes, believe it!)  The latter "must contain at least 10 percent fat milk fat and 1.4 percent egg yolk solids.  If it has fewer egg yolk solid, then it is considered ice cream."
Now for the rest of the field. (3) Gelato originated from Italy and is similar to ice cream.  Two differences are gelato typically contains lower 4–8% butterfat, versus 14% for ice cream in the United States, and dairy based gelato contains 16–24% sugar whereas most ice cream in the United States contains 12-16% sugar. (4) Sorbet contains the same ingredients as gelato except no diary products.(5) Granita is a "semi-frozen Italian dessert made from sugar, water, and various toppings".  It is very similar to (6) Sherbet is "a fizzy powder, containing sugar and flavoring, and an edible acidic and base."  When the powder comes into contact with water from a mixing or from saliva, the acid and base react and produce the gassy bubbles.  Examples on the U.S. include Pixy Stix and Pop Rocks.(7) " Italian ice , or water ice, is a sweetened frozen dessert made with fruit (often from concentrates, juices or purées) or other natural or artificial food flavorings."  The ingredients are frozen while mixing them, like ice cream.  It does not contain diary or egg yolk, which sherbet may.(8) Shaved ice is fine ice crystals with a topping added .  In North America, this is also called a (9) snow cone .(10) Slush is "a flavored frozen drink" .  It is a name for a group of desserts made by freezing a liquid.  Examples include Slurpee and ICEE.(11) " Semifreddo ( Italian : "half cold") is a class of semi-frozen desserts , typically ice-cream cakes, semi-frozen custards , and certain fruit tarts."   Gelato is often used.(12) " Frozen yogurt is a frozen dessert containing yogurt or other dairy products. It is slightly more tart than ice cream , as well as lower in fat (due to the use of milk (only 0.5-6.0%) instead of cream)." (13) " Soft serve is generally lower in milk-fat (3% to 6%) than ice cream (10% to 18%) and is produced at a temperature of about −4 °C compared to ice cream, which is stored at −15 °C. Soft serve contains air, between 33% and 45% of volume, introduced at the time of freezing and which affects the taste of the finished product.  More than this and the product loses taste, tends to shrink as it loses air and melts more quickly than that with less air."(14) " Dessert mousse is a form of dessert typically made from egg and cream (classically no cream, separated eggs, sugar, and chocolate or other flavorings), usually in combination with other flavors such as chocolate or puréed fruit ."
For me, fine dining will never be the same.  As for the mom, she and her daughter will have to be careful about which cold dessert she eats.  Are you ready for the Allergy Dude's quiz?
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