Low-fat ice cream: Here's the scoop Treat: Don't throw out your ice cream maker to save your waistline. Frozen desserts can be made of low-fat ingredients, too.

August 05, 1998|By Teresa J. Farney | Teresa J. Farney,GAZETTE

We all scream for ice cream. And then we all scream at the scales when we weigh in.

After all, the tastiest homemade ice cream usually is made with gallons of thick, velvety cream, not watery skim milk. So while few things are more refreshing than a bowl of homemade ice cream on these scorching summer days, those fat calories can melt our desire for too much of a good thing.

But don't let that scare you into mothballing the ice cream maker. You still can use it to make amazingly good low-fat ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and sorbet.

Patsy Jamieson, food editor for Eating Well, the Magazine of Food & Life, said the magazine's test-kitchen cooks have cut the fat in ice cream using meringues, marshmallow cream, low-fat milk and condensed skim milk.

The staff started playing around with low-fat ice cream recipes in 1993. Specifically, they took a "to die for" recipe for a classic French-style cooked-custard-based ice cream and reworked it.

"What we ended up doing in our remake was to use meringue in the mix," Jamieson said.

This process considerably reduced the amount of egg yolks and fat in the ice cream base. Low-fat milk was used to further reduce the fat.

But the meringue had to be cooked. With additional testing, Jamieson discovered that marshmallow cream is an excellent substitute for the meringue. This streamlined the process and gave the recipe a creamy texture without adding any fat.

"Now there's another formula that I've turned to recently, which is taking advantage of nonfat sweetened condensed milk," she says.

The concentrated milk solids contribute to a good texture for the ice cream. But when the fat is reduced, the ice cream may get a grainy texture; to counter the problem, Jamieson recommends adding a little gelatin and corn syrup to ice cream recipes for a more velvety texture.

Though lower in fat than regular ice cream, Jamieson's recipes are not necessarily low-calorie. Instead, for both low-fat and low-calorie dishes, think frozen yogurt. While many of the recipes call for sugar, they don't use as much as traditional ice cream formulas; rather, they get much of their sweetness from the addition of fruit.

Sorbets and sherbets also provide a low-fat, low-calorie cool down, and they lend themselves to exotic, intense and unusual flavors. Colorado chefs Greg Adams of the Pampered Palate catering business and Robert Wooldridge Jr. of Gertrude's restaurant have turned their sorbet-making into an art.

Adams' goal is to intensify and concentrate the flavors in his homemade sorbets.

"What I like to do is use the freshest, most favorable fruits I can find," he said.

Pineapple-Rum Sorbet is one of his favorite varieties. And it's so easy you almost don't need a recipe: Make a simple base syrup (in a saucepan, combine 3 3/4 cups water with 4 cups sugar; boil the mixture until sugar is dissolved). Cool the syrup. Peel, core and clean a whole pineapple and puree it in a food processor. Add the simple syrup and 2 ounces Malabo rum. Process in an ice cream freezer until frozen.

Wooldridge describes his version of sorbets as more like intermezzos (palate cleansers) because they're basically pureed fruit. He adds a little honey to cut the tartness and uses a blender to make the mixture smooth before putting it in an ice cream freezer.

Among his exotic frozen combinations are Raspberry-Champagne Sorbet and Saffron Peach Ice Cream.

"Back in the early days, we used to add banana to the sorbets to make the mixture creamier," he said. "We found that banana became the dominant flavor of the sorbet."

To keep the flavor more natural, he uses fresh fruit combined with fruit juice in his sorbets.

Susan Purdy, author of "Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too" and the new cookbook "Let Them Eat Cake," also tries to keep flavors full and rich while cutting the fat.

She's developed recipes for low-fat sorbets using vanilla-flavored, low-fat yogurt. The trick is to pour off the liquid that accumulates on top of the yogurt before adding the remaining recipe ingredients.

Her other tip is to use frozen concentrated fruit juices full strength to intensify the flavors.

Pub Date: 8/05/98

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