Frozen Desserts

Which is Which? Different Types of Frozen Desserts

Summer is not just for barbecues. It’s also the perfect season to enjoy scoops of anything frozen. From ice cream to gelato to yoghurt, the combination of cream with fruit and other delicious ingredients is the best treat to help you cool down. And with so many frozen desserts to choose from, knowing what sets them apart will definitely help you decide which treat would go well with your wafer cone!

Yes, they all have the ability to satisfy your sweet tooth, but frozen treats do differ in ingredients, nutrient value, and texture. So if you want to indulge the healthy way or treat yourself to something rich and creamy, here’s a list of some of the most popular frozen treats you can try this summer time (or any time!).

Ice Cream

  • Ice cream is typically made up of cream, sugar, and flavourings.
  • It is a churned dessert that contains 10% to 16% of butterfat.
  • The creaminess of ice cream is largely dependent on its fat content and the incorporation of air. Ice cream with a denser, more indulgent texture has more fat whipped with less air.
  • It’s great on its own, but you can always place it on top of another dessert, put it in between freshly baked cookies, or form it into a cake.
Frozen Desserts
Instead of wafer cones, bread is sometimes used to serve ice cream. In Hong Kong, bubble or egg waffles filled with ice cream and fruit have recently become a popular street food trend.

Soft Serve

  • Soft serve differs from ice cream as it has a lower fat content (3% to 6%) and more air incorporated into it.
  • It goes through a faster churning process at a higher freezing temperature, resulting in a softer and lighter texture than regular ice cream.
  • Softee (India), Merry Cream (Lebanon), and Mr. Whippy (United Kingdom) are some adorable alternative names for soft serve in other countries.
Frozen Desserts
Making perfect swirls with soft-serve ice cream is easier with its softer texture.

Gelato

  • Gelato originated in Italy and uses more milk than cream, giving it a lower fat content.
  • The secret to the dense texture of this frozen treat is a higher freezing temperature, 4% to 8% butterfat, and less whipped air incorporated at a slower rate.
  • Gelati are often flavoured with chocolate, fruit, nut butter, and fresh herbs. But you can easily give it a twist by combining it with coffee (affogato) or moulding it with your hands and placing a fruit at the centre (tartufo).
Types of frozen desserts - gelato display
Delicious display of gourmet Italian gelato.

Semifreddo

  • Literally means “half frozen”, semifreddo is another Italian-based treat that feels and tastes like ice cream but without the churning process.
  • Instead of whipping air into the mixture while freezing, semifreddo is done by folding in whipped cream to a custard-based mixture then frozen.
  • The best thing about semifreddo is you can easily make it at home even without an ice cream maker.
  • Semifreddos are usually served in tart or cake form. Try spreading your semifreddo mixture on top of a baked cookie crust before setting it in the freezer. It’s a great way to add a crisp texture to this creamy dessert.
Types of frozen desserts - semifreddo
Semifreddo is an elegant frozen dessert with the texture of a frozen mousse. It’s not to be mistaken for an ice-cream cake, which consists of layers of ice cream and cake.

Sherbet

  • Sherbet is a low-fat, dairy-based dessert that contains only 1% to 2% butterfat.
  • Because of the addition of milk and egg whites into the mixture, sherbet tends to have a lighter mouthfeel.
  • Despite its low fat content, sherbet has a soft texture because of higher sugar levels. The addition of more sugar means large ice crystals don’t form, keeping the sherbet texture soft.
  • Sherbet is often made with refreshing fruit flavours like orange, strawberry, and lime.
Types of frozen dessert - Sherbet
Sherbet, from the Persian word “sharbat” which is an iced fruit drink, is often served as a palate cleanser in between multi-course meals.

Sorbet

  • Often confused with sherbet, sorbet is different as it contains no dairy. Its main ingredients include sugar, water, and fruit puree or liqueur.
  • The soft texture of sorbets is caused by the constant churning during the freezing process.
  • Sorbets also have an icy texture due to its high water content. And while this frozen dessert is fat free, sorbet has a much higher sugar content.
Types of frozen dessert - sorbet
Sorbet is easy to make year-round because it can use any seasonal fruit, but is especially fantastic to cool down with during summer.

Parfait

  • Parfait, which means “perfect” in French, refers to two kinds of frozen dessert. Its original French version is made of three elements: egg yolk foam, whipped cream, and flavourings. The mixture is then frozen in a tall, thin mould then unmoulded when set.
  • The American parfait, and perhaps the more popular type, is an ice cream dessert layered with various ingredients like nuts, fruit, and granola, and served in a tall parfait glass.
  • In some countries, parfait is given a healthy spin by replacing ice cream with yoghurt. This type of parfait makes a delicious breakfast treat.
Frozen Desserts
Parfait for breakfast? Layering yoghurt with fruit and oats in clip-top jars is perfect on the go.

Frozen Yoghurt

  • Perfect for the health buff, frozen yoghurt uses a yoghurt base in place of cream that tends to have a high fat content.
  • Instead of fresh milk used for most frozen desserts, yoghurt uses cultured milk, which gives it its natural thick texture and tangy flavour.
  • The bacterial culture in yoghurt also makes it a probiotic-rich treat, making it an even better and healthier dessert choice.
  • Greek yoghurt is the usual base used for making this dessert because of its higher protein content. This type of yoghurt is also strained well compared to other varieties; its lower moisture level is perfect for making your frozen yoghurt thick and creamy.
Types of frozen dessert - frozen yoghurt popsicles
Turn your frozen yoghurt into fun popsicles by mixing in fruit slices or pressing them against the side of the mould.

It’s amazing how a simple alteration of ingredients and mixing process leads to a myriad of churned and cold concoctions for us to enjoy. And with more and more healthier frozen treat choices now available, skipping dessert is really no longer an option.

Ready to make your own frozen treat? See ice cream and yoghurt makers, cups, scoops, and other accessories here.

Aimee Arcega

Aimee is a content writer for Kitchen Warehouse and a foodie at heart. Also a trained pastry chef, she bakes in her spare time to make people happy.

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