What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than with a taste of the dessert we all scream for. But all ice creams aren’t made alike! David Rosengarten, food writer and author of “The Rosengarten Report” gives advice on what to look for when choosing this frozen treat that will make anyone an ice cream connoisseur. Check out the tips below.
SO WHAT IS it? If you go by the name alone, sounds like it’s cream that’s been frozen. But ice cream can be made of milk or cream or a combination. It can also be made with egg or without, with a lot of air or a little and with natural flavors or artificial ones.
PHILADELPHIA STYLE VS. FRENCH STYLE
All ice creams break down into two categories: those made with eggs and those made without.
This is a custard-based ice cream. In other words, the eggs have been cooked. Because of the egg, French ice cream will taste richer than one not made with eggs.
This is a non egg-based ice cream which will generally be lighter in taste.
CLEAN VS. GUMMY
Sometimes makers will fiddle with the ingredients in order to save themselves some money.
Specifically, cream is really expensive, so manufacturers will use an artificial thickener to make the ice cream seem richer without it costing them more. Generally, your higher-end ice creams will taste a lot cleaner than the low ones.
This is a pure cream-based ice cream.
This is one made with something artificial rather than real cream or egg yolk.
HIGH AMOUNT OF AIR VS. LOW AMOUNT OF AIR
Manufacturers have the ability to whip air into ice cream as it’s churning. The more air that’s whipped in, the less ice cream you have. (Depending on the percentage of air, a pint of ice cream can weigh 1.7 lbs. or 3.2 lbs.). This will affect the taste just as much as the ingredients will. For example, you can have an ice cream made with real quality ingredients but if there is a lot of air whipped into it, it won’t taste rich at all.
Ice creams are not allowed by law to be more than 50 percent air. For the most part, the less air, the more expensive the ice cream.
David’s favorite ice creams
RONNYBROOK FARM DAIRY, FRESH PACK
Fresh and clean-tasting, with no added artificial ingredients of any kind. The taste is remarkable: reminiscent of the aroma of fabulous, fresh strawberries.
The texture is ideal: just creamy enough, not too creamy. A perfect example of egg-based custard French ice cream. Amazing taste of fresh fruit, with wonderful zingy acidity. Big frozen berries with tons of strawberry flavor.
This high-end Edy’s is very, very good. Quite creamy, which was achieved with a little pumping up from carob bean gum. However, the smart addition of rhubarb purée brings it back to zingy. Excellent strawberry flavor — non-exotic, of the mainstream sort.
A wonderful range of ice creams is available through icecreamsource.com (Phone: 800-828-4717)
David Rosengarten is the author of The Rosengarten Report. You can find out more information by visiting his Web site at: www.DavidRosengarten.com.