What is sorbet and what is parfait: definitions and differences
One cold treat isn’t the same as the other – because there’s sorbet and there’s parfait. Find out here whether these two delicious dishes are ice cream at all and lots of other useful facts.
What is sorbet?
When you order a sorbet you can be pretty sure you’ll get a product that contains no milk or cream – or to put it another way: you have a water ice. It should contain 25% fruit, with the exception being for citrus fruits. With those, 15% is enough to produce an intense flavour. Fruit juice, sugar or syrup and water are frozen while being continuously stirred – that’s what produces the typical light, crunchy and watery texture. All the same, if you’re vegan you should check the ingredients because traditionally, beaten egg whites may also be included in the mix. The sorbet is served pure and often comes in a glass because it melts quickly. Voilà! A quick answer to the question “What is sorbet?”
What is parfait?
When you see this word on the dessert menu and ask yourself “What is parfait?”, you can definitely expect a sweet, creamy temptation. In the culinary world, by the way, “parfait” means a semi-frozen, firm mass that isn’t necessarily sweet. To make a parfait, the ingredients are firstly mixed together thoroughly, poured into a smooth mould and only then chilled. This produces a smooth, firm mass which, if made perfectly, can even be sliced. The basis of a parfait is egg yolk and, usually, whipped cream or beaten egg whites as well as sugar, of course, and tasty flavourings such as vanilla, fruit puree or liqueur. A parfait is usually served with a mint leaf, berry or fruit slice garnish. If you want to try making it yourself, have a look at our tips from the professionals here.
Ice cream or frozen custard always contain milk and usually cream as well – be it from a cow or made from soya beans – and often egg yolk or whole egg as well. So that the ingredients are evenly mixed with plenty of air, the ice cream has to be constantly stirred as it freezes. Unlike with sorbet, you don’t want ice crystals but a creamy texture. So if you want to try to make your own, you’ll need an ice cream-maker. Once you’ve got one, just about anything is possible – as you can see from the bizarre ice cream flavours on sale in summer in city ice cream parlours.
It is said that Alexander the Great was already enjoying ice cream millennia ago. At the time, it was far more complicated to make because real ice for cooling had to be brought from a glacier in the Macedonian mountains and transported frozen to Alexander’s palace. Luckily today, it’s much easier for us to get our sorbet, parfait and ice cream.
And that’s why we’re now enjoying a spoonful of Coconut Fudge!