15 Sep 2017

The differences between ice cream and semifreddo

“Summer is ending” sang a very famous 80s song, which also reflects our current condition. The beaches are closing, the first rains are clouding our skies and the first fresh autumn are peeping out, once we arrive in the evening.
Fortunately, however, there is still space for some nice sunny day, just enough to enjoy a good ice cream or a good semifreddo at the tables of our Gambrinus!

But, by the way, what’s the difference?

Ice-cream and semifreddo: two “cousins”, similar but different

The characteristics to consider in order to examine the main differences between ice cream and semifreddo are, surely, two: ingredients and processing.

Leaving aside, in fact, the optional ingredients, which can give a taste more or less specific to the flavor, the semifreddo have a list of fundamental ingredients to be respected, some very different from those of ice cream. Let’s see them specifically.

  • Semi-whipped cream: provides that softness to the sweet and that cool but not icy temperature that, instead, distinguishes the ice cream (where the cream is whipped and, therefore, more cold and porous);
  • Egg: in ice cream this ingredient is not obligatory, nor always present, while, in egg white and / or yolk, in semifreddo it is an integral part of the recipe;
  • Sugar: in order to have a soft product when cut, even at low temperatures, it is important that the total content of sugars in the semifreddo is equal to 23%.
    Finally, as far as processing is concerned, one can easily understand what the substantial differences are by examining the various phases.

First of all, it is possible to opt for cold or hot processing.

The first type is addressed more for ice creams with flavors based on water, sugar and fruit, obtaining a mixture of ingredients to rest briefly and then let it cool by freezing.

The second type, on the other hand, is chosen, more often, for artisan ice cream with milk-based flavors or in anticipation of large quantities of product to be prepared. The process is longer and more complex, providing for mixing, pasteurization, maturation and freezing, by freezing and hardening. Finally, the temperature is reduced, before storage.

The substantial difference between the processing of ice cream and that of semifreddo is that while the first, as we have seen, is subjected to freezing, the second is cooled by the rapid cold technique: a sudden lowering of the temperature that does not form, so unwanted ice macrocrystals. Only in this way can a more creamy mixture be obtained, which must then be kept between 20 and 18 degrees below zero, just like the frozen “cousin”.