Ice cream, which may also be spelt as ice-cream, is essentially a frozen dessert with a sweet taste which is universally liked by one and all. Usually soft and made with milk, ice cream, though believed to have its origin the Asian cuisines, was popularized mainly by the Western cuisines of Europe and America. The extremely appealing taste, aroma, feel and texture of ice cream and ice cream recipes have made them popular desserts of all times, since the time of their invention in the ancient times. Colored and flavored differently and made using a variety of ingredients, ice creams are both traditional and modern depending upon the recipe followed in their preparations. They are suitable for consumption as party specials or casual foods.
On the whole, ice cream is one of the few dishes to have gained immense international recognition with different countries producing their own variants; like the Italian gelato, the New England Frozen yogurt, or the Coney Island Frozen custard. Popular ice cream recipes include those for vanilla ice cream strawberry ice cream, chocolate ice cream, fruit and nut ice cream amongst a number of others. Some dessert sandwiches, cakes and beverages are also made using the ice cream as an ingredient.
History of Ice Creams
The origin of the concept of ice cream can be dated back to the period before 400 BC when the Persians made preparations like snow flavored with grape juice and in 400 BC, a chilled rose water-vermicelli pudding. The concept of a frozen dessert also existed in other cultures such as the Chinese who ate frozen milk and rice in around 200 BC and the Roman, when Nero indulged in mountain snow with fruit toppings. The concept of ice cream seems to have been introduced to the Western world by duchess of Italy Catherine de Medici in France( 1533) and Charles 1 in England, a century later.
Ice Cream recipes made appearance in the French cuisine in the 17th century, starting with Nicholas Lemery’s work Recueil de curiositéz rares et nouvelles de plus admirables effets de la nature. After him a number of recipes by others like Antonio Latini were also introduced. The first ice cream recipes as known today were introduced in England and America in the 18th century. Ice cream was introduced to the United States of America by the colonial Quakers. The dessert was sold commercially. The 20th century saw a rise in the production and popularity in the United States and other parts of the world with manufacturers like Baskin Robbins and Howard Johnsons establishing the ice cream industry. Soft ice cream, consisting of a texturally softer version of the common ice cream, made using lesser ingredients than the former was introduced during the 20th century as a cost saving measure.
Ingredients Used In the Preparation of Ice Creams
Though ice cream and related products are made in almost all cuisines of the world with common and cuisine-specific ingredients, generically, the ice cream is prepared using milk, cream ( and/or butter), sugar ,flavoring agents, fruits and nuts, chocolate chips, chocolate and other ingredients.
Method of Preparation of Ice Creams
Ice cream is a frozen dessert and is made with a number of ingredients. Ice cream recipes are varied and range from the most simple to very complicated. Though the flavor is easily attained, attaining the perfect texture of the dish requires expertise. The dessert can be prepared both at home and commercially, though the commercial variety often comes with a finer finish than the homemade one owing to being manufactured by the usage of specialized machines for the purpose.
Essentially, the preparation of homemade version of ice cream involves boiling milk till thick and creamy, adding sugar and flavoring agent like vanilla extract when cool, and freezing the milk till it attains a solid consistency. The frozen milk is then whipped with cream till uniformly smooth and soft chilled mass results which is frozen till it solidifies. Chopped nuts, finely minced dry fruits and other ingredients of choice are added to the ice cream at this temperature. Nowadays, specialized machines called ice cream makers are available for the purpose and all one has to do is put all the ingredients in it. The machine processes the ingredients to result in a soft, creamy and most importantly delicious mass, which is fondly eaten. Though hand churners were popular in the mid- nineteenth century, today very sophisticated machines are available for the purpose.
Commercial preparation of ice cream is done on a huge scale in the Western and many other countries of the world with the product being produced and marketed by a number of companies like Ben & Jerry’s, Blue Bell Creameries, Carvel Ice Cream, Baskin Robbins and Kwality.
Serving and Eating Ice Cream
Ice Cream, being one of the most irresistible desserts, is enjoyed in a number of ways depending upon its type. Ice cream bars are enjoyed by licking them and are a favorite of children. The dessert, is also commercially packaged in paper/plastic container of certain quantities, and is eaten by scooping out of the container with a small spoon specifically designed for the purpose.
Ice cream cones are very popular and were in usage since the 19th century. Patronized by cookery writer, Agnes Marshall, in her book Mrs. Marshall’s Cookery Book (1888) and according to legend being popularized after the St. Louis World Fair (1904) owing to the accidental discovery made due to usage of waffle cones to serve ice cream due to exhaustion of cardboard containers, the ice cream cone, which itself is a delicious edible biscuit is often one of the preferred choices for serving ice cream.
Ice Cream: Trivia
According to a makeicecream.com survey, the top 10 countries for consumption of ice cream are:
1. United States of America
2. New Zealand
According to another survey of makeicecream.com on the most liked flavors of ice cream, vanilla is the most prepared followed by chocolate, butter pecan, strawberry, and Neapolitan.