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Ice Creams

Summer has set in bringing with it the cravings to have something cold to soothe the frayed nerves. And ice creams feature very high on the list of cold things that will be sought after by most. Why not? They are refreshing, they are delicious and enjoyed by young and old alike.

Today, Ice cream is a popular dessert found in weddings, parties and in every celebration. Infact in US, the month of July is declared as National Ice Cream Month. This wonderful dessert is now available in its many variants and has an ever increasing demand. But one thing that should not be overlooked is the fact that they are most laden with calories, sugar and saturated fat which means one should have it occasionally and not make it a part of daily diet.

This sweet treat could lead to a slight headache. Another name for an ice cream headache is "brain freeze." It's a myth that we get this pain in our head if we eat ice cream too fast. An ice cream headache actually happens because the cold ice cream touches a sensitive nerve center in the roof of our mouths. Don’t worry, it is not dangerous for you and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you if you have it. However, there is one plus point and that is it has some calcium content since it is made with milk. Another plus point is that ice cream can be made at home, and that too quite easily.

Making of Ice-Cream

Ice cream factories usually make their own mix in a large vat with the proportions and mix it with the help of ice cream making machine. Ice Cream mix generally includes – a pasteurized mix of one or more dairy ingredients – milk, concentrated fat-free milk, cream, condensed milk, sweetening agents, flavorings, stabilizers, emulsifiers and optional egg or egg yolk solids or other ingredients.

One of the major ingredients in an ice cream is air. The presence of air means that ice cream is also technically foam. Without it, the stuff would be as hard as a rock. Stabilizers help hold the air bubble structure together and give the ice cream a better texture. Emulsifiers keep the ice cream smooth and aid the distribution of the fat molecules throughout the colloid. Once the ice cream has come out of the ice cream maker, the process is not finished. It needs to be very cold to freeze the ice cream quickly and prevent the formation of large ice crystals. This process is known as hardening. Soft-serve is often simple ice cream that has not gone through this process.

How to make ice cream at home?
Now we all can enjoy making this delicious dessert at home, that too with different innovative recipes. There are two ways, first to bring the ready-made mix for ice-cream or the other way is to try making it at home with a blend of ingredients. All thanks to our modern refrigerators!

Here are a few tips for good homemade ice cream:
•Use seasonal fruits which are fully ripened to get natural flavours. Add it to the custard base and whisk well before freezing.

•If using essences, first cool the custard base and then add it before freezing.

•Whisk the ice cream with a wire whisk, because this way it gets well aerated.

•Ice cream should always be frozen in an airtight container. Ice creams set faster and better in aluminum containers.

•Place a thick plastic sheet or spread some salt under the container to prevent it from sticking to the floor of the freezer.

•Place the container in the centre of your freezer without crowding. It will freeze more quickly and evenly.

•The ice cream should be frozen for a minimum of three and a half hours.

•Serve the ice cream a day after it is made. The end product is smoother and more in volume.

Try making ice cream with these basic tips and if you are looking for some innovation, here we have a collection of different Ice-cream recipes. Tried paan ice cream or Chilli Milli Ice Cream or gulab jamun ice cream or tiramisu ice cream?

Ice cream has inspired many

There are a number of frozen desserts inspired by Ice cream. Let’s know about the desserts that followed the ice cream…

•Ais kacang from Malaysia is made from shaved ice, syrup, and boiled red bean and topped with chocolate sauce and evaporated milk. Sometimes, raspberries and durians are added too.

•Dondurma is Turkish ice cream, made of starchy flour of the tuber of orchids.

•Semifreddo from Italy is frozen custard of milk fat and egg yolk with air beaten into it. Frozen yogurt is a healthier option to ice cream.

•Gelato is an Italian frozen dessert having a lower milk fat content than ice cream and stabilized with ingredients such as eggs.

•Ice milk, more popular as low fat ice cream in the US, has less than 10% milk fat and lower sweetening content.

•Ice pops or lollies or candy is frozen fruit puree, fruit juice, or flavoured sugar water on a stick.

•Kulfi, the rich frozen dessert made with condensed milk, has its origins in Arabian and Mediterranean cultures.Now it is more popular as an Indian Mughlai dessert.

•Sorbet is frozen fruit puree with no dairy products.

•Snow balls, made from balls of crushed ice topped with sweet syrup served on a stick are common to see at fairs and amusement parks.

•Some classic ice cream desserts are famous around the world; I would like to mention the Arctic Roll which is a British dessert made of ice cream wrapped in sponge cake to form a roll, often with jam between the sponge and the ice cream.

•Another is Baked Alaska, a dessert made of ice cream straight from the freezer placed in a pie dish lined with slices of sponge cake and topped with meringue. The entire dessert if then placed in an extremely hot oven just long enough to firm the meringue. The meringue is an effective insulator, and in the short cooking time needed, it prevents the heat getting through to the ice cream.

Ice-creams now come in a mind-boggling variety of flavours. Personally, I like the natural flavours likechocolate or vanilla. Fresh and dried fruits can be used to great advantage which can make the ice creams more nutrients dense. Try making Mango Ice-cream, Plum Ice-cream or totally irresistible Tender Coconut Ice Cream.

Many people also like ice cream sundaes, with ice cream, hot fudge, nuts, whipped cream, cherries and other toppings of their choice. My favourite one is Mocha Nut Sundae - scoops of vanilla and coffee ice-cream topped with cut fruits, chocolate sauce and wafer biscuit.

The Ice cream story

Ice cream is an ancient dish. It goes back hundreds of years and some stories originate from England, some from Rome and even from China. Records say that ice cream was invented as far back as the 4th century B.C. Some of the early references include the Roman emperor Nero (A.D. 37-68). It is said that he used to order ice to be brought from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings.

Ice cream was likely brought from China back to Europe. Famous explorer Marco Polo returned to his homeland Italy from China in late 13th century with a Chinese recipe for Milk Ice. Europeans replaced the Milk with Cream and since then Ice Cream has become an all time favourite! Another reference has it that King Tang (A.D. 618-97) of Shang, China had a method of creating ice and milk concoctions.

It was quite a few hundreds of years ago that King Charles I of England hosted a grand state banquet where the final dish – which obviously was the sweet dish – was well planned by the King’s French Chef. It was a cold dish that resembled freshly fallen snow. It was so creamy and sweet, something no one had ever made before or tasted before. This story is just one of many of the fascinating tales which surround the evolution of ice cream. Over time, recipes for ices, sherbets, and milk ices evolved and served in the fashionable Italian and French royal courts.
Before the advent of modern refrigerators, ice-cream making was very laborious and painstaking process. Ice cream was made by hand in large bowls placed inside a tub filled with ice and salt. This was called the pot-freezer method.

The first improvement in the manufacture of ice cream (from the handmade way in a large bowl) was the invention of the hand-cranked freezer in the 19th century. The hand-cranked churn produced smoother ice cream than the pot freezer and did it quicker.

In 1926 the first commercial successful ‘continuous process’ freezer was perfected. And this has allowed the mass production of ice cream! This gave birth to the modern ice cream industry. Now we can make ice cream at home using a special ice cream maker.

How ice cream cones came to be?
Ice cream cones came into existence in the 19th century, and their popularity has been increasing since then! One story goes like this. At the World’s Fair, an ice cream seller had run out of the cardboard dishes used to put ice cream scoops in, so he could not sell any more produce. Next door to the ice cream booth was a waffle booth, unsuccessful due to intense heat; the waffle maker offered to make cones by rolling up his waffles and the new product sold well, and was widely copied by other vendors. 

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