Sorbets and other sweet treats
These days, we find so many frozen treats in markets and small shops that it is sometimes hard to choose our favorite! Gelato and frozen yogurt shops seem to spring up overnight on every street corner. We go for good old-fashioned American ice cream, but then again…
When dining in upscale restaurants, we enjoy the culinary tradition of serving a tiny ramekin of sorbet between courses. This sorbet “course” is called an intermezzo, which means in Italian “in between the work.” It is often served right after soup and before the main course, although historically it came between the fish and meat courses . While not essential to enjoying a fine meal, a bite or two of sorbet actually does the job of cleansing the palate. Taste buds are sensitive and can retain the flavor of certain foods after they are ingested; it makes perfect sense to cleanse the palate to better appreciate the meal’s subtleties.
A palate-cleansing treat in the middle of a meal was popular in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when dining was an evening-long event. Unfortunately it has all but disappeared from the dining scene. When it does appear, it is a delightful surprise for diners and everyone loves it. Try serving an intermezzo at your next dinner party and think about adding it to the menu when planning a major event such as a wedding. Your guests will appreciate this small but memorable effort.
Like millions of Americans, we are also quite fond of the Italian-style ice cream known as gelato, which you can make at home or buy in almost every city and town in the United States. Luscious Italian gelato is made with a lower percentage of fat than traditional ice cream, and the gelato-making process is different from that of making ice cream. Churned at a slower speed than ice cream, gelato is denser because not as much air is whipped into the mixture during the churning process. Gelato contains about 25 to 30 percent air and ice cream can contain as much as 50 percent air. Finally, while ice cream is served frozen, gelato is typically stored and served at a slightly warmer temperature, or not completely frozen. Made with fresh fruits and flavorings, it’s no wonder that gelato is the world’s most popular frozen treat.
A semifreddo is another delightful dessert similar to gelato in texture; it is made by folding freshly whipped cream into ice cream or, even more simply, by freezing flavored whipped cream until just about frozen—the texture should be close to gelato—and serving. If you add pureed fruit, lemon curd, chocolate sauce, or finely chopped nuts to your semifreddo, you will create a simple and truly elegant dessert that is rich, creamy, and flavorful.
We hope you try these recipes and include a brief guide to help you decide which frozen indulgence you’d like to make tonight!
• Sorbet: Sorbet is a frozen dessert made from sweetened water flavored with iced fruit (typically juice or puree), chocolate, wine, and/or liqueur. Sorbet’s origins can be traced to a Middle Eastern drink known as charbet, which is made of sweetened fruit juice and water.
• Granita: In Italy, a similar though crunchier textured dish called granita is made. As the liquid in granita freezes, it forms noticeably large-sized crystals, which are left unstirred. Granita is often shredded with a fork to give an even crunchier texture when served.
• Sherbet: In the United States, sherbet is legally defined by the FDA as a frozen dessert having between 1% and 2% milk product, whereas ice cream is any similar product that has more, and sorbet is popularly seen as having none.
• Semifreddo: This decadent treat has the texture of frozen mousse because it is usually produced by blending equal parts of ice cream and whipped cream but can also be made by freezing flavored whipped cream until nearly frozen.
• Gelato: Gelato is Italian ice cream made from milk and sugar combined with other flavorings. Gelato ingredients are frozen while stirring to break up ice crystals as they form. It generally has essay writers block a much lower fat content than ice cream and much less air.
1 jar of any of Stonewall Kitchen’s marmalades or any good quality marmalade
½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon minced lemon zest
2 cups of water
1. Combine marmalade, lemon juice, zest, and water in a bowl. Mix well. Freeze according to the directions of your ice cream maker, or pour mixture into a metal or glass dish and freeze until solid (12 hours or overnight).
2. If frozen in a dish, when completely frozen, cut into chunks and pulse in a food processor just until smooth.
3. Refreeze for 6 hours before serving.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Semifreddo
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 jar Stonewall Kitchen Chocolate Peanut Butter Sauce or any good chocolate peanut butter sauce
1. Whip heavy cream in a chilled mixing bowl with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar and vanilla. Fold in the chocolate peanut butter sauce until completely incorporated. Place in a covered container that can go into the freezer.
2. Place semifreddo in the freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight. Best if used within 3-4 days.
Blueberry Lemon Sorbet
1 cup Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Jam or any good blueberry jam
½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon minced lemon zest
2 cups water
1. Combine jam, lemon juice, zest, and water in a bowl.
2. Either freeze according to directions for an ice cream maker or pour into a flat glass or metal dish and freeze until solid (6 hours or overnight).
3. Cut into chunks, process in a food processor just until smooth, and refreeze for at least 2 hours before serving.