Know Your Sorbet From Your Semifreddo: A Frozen Dessert Primer

With this September feeling warmer than July and fall still technically a week away, there’s still some time to enjoy a frozen dessert. But don’t feel limited to Baskin Robbins or Red Mango. Westchester has countless places to enjoy a variety of homemade frozen desserts. And if you don’t know your sorbet from your semifreddo, don’t worry; we’ll clear that up too. Here’s a guide to frozen dessert in Westchester.

Ice Cream

The Blue Pig in Croton-on-Hudson

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Ice cream is the most popular frozen dessert, and there are endless possibilities of flavors and combinations. Creamy milk fat and controlled temperatures are the key to ice cream’s signature texture; adding air into the mixture keeps the dessert soft and pliable. The Blue Pig in Croton-on-Hudson won the 2015 Best of Westchester Readers’ Pick for “Best Ice Cream,” in the county, so that should be on your shortlist of must-try county ice cream shops. Another option is Ice Cream Factory in Mount Vernon, which prides itself on a variety of Caribbean flavors, including Grapenutt, Jamaican Rum Raisin, and Soursop. But there are many worthy ice cream shops. (Far too many to list here!)

Gelato
Gelato is an Italian dessert staple. It can be creamy, icy, savory, or fruity. Whole milk is typically used to enhance the creaminess of gelato, and stabilizers are used to provide that firm texture. Once the mixture is frozen and ready to serve, a spatula is used to create unique waves. Longford’s Ice Cream in Rye serves authentic gelato in flavors like chocolate hazelnut, espresso, and hazelnut pistachio. Ossining Pizzeria and Lighthouse Ice Cream Kompany in Tarrytown also have gelato that would make an Italian proud.

Frozen Yogurt
In recent years, frozen yogurt has surged in popularity, perhaps because it is considered healthier than other frozen desserts. It contains cultures and bacteria like regular yogurt. Frozen yogurt is pasteurized and aged, then mixed with different flavorings and toppings. It could be churned out of a machine or served like ice cream with a scoop. At Sedutto in Scarsdale, there’s regular frozen yogurt in rotating flavors as well as low-fat and fat-free hard yogurt flavors. Many frozen yogurt places also offer dairy-free and sugar-free options.

Sorbet

MSPhotographic / Fotolia

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Sorbet is a refreshing mixture of water, sugar, and fruit as its most popular flavoring. It’s different from other frozen desserts because it does not contain milk. It could be used as a palate cleanser in-between meals, but it’s also a popular dessert. Campagna in Bedford serves seasonal sorbets in flavors like strawberry red wine to end your meal. At Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua, you can try the pear-ginger sorbet on top of farm goat cheesecake, or you can order a gelato and sorbet trio with flavors espresso lemon, raspberry, and passion fruit sorbet.

Semifreddo
Semifreddo literally translates to “semi-cold,” but it is essentially a mixture of whipped cream, Swiss meringue, and zabaglione (a mix of egg yolks, sugar, and different flavorings). The fluffy and airy consistency makes it stand out from ice cream as a lighter texture served with a spatula. L’inizio in Ardsley serves semifreddo in some of their desserts and alone, in a variety of flavors, and passion fruit semifreddo makes an appearance at Harvest-on-Hudson in Hastings.

Custard
Custard is most famous for its very thick, creamy, and yolk-y texture. Best served fresh, custard can be eaten in a cone, shake, sundae, and other novelties. Custard shakes (also known as concretes), are truly unique in taste and texture. Abbott’s Frozen Custard in Shrub Oak serves seasonal flavors and churns them all in-house. Abbott’s not only serves frozen custard in cones, but also custard cannolis, custard wheels, and custard turtles—a decadent mix of fudge, peanuts, custard, and dark chocolate.


Top photo by Kristen Taylor used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
 
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