For many people across the world, food is a means of expression. History, culture, and personal passion can all be conveyed through the complexity or clean simplicity of a single dish. There are few acts that share the intimate interplay between cooking and eating, it is an ancient practice perfected by our species over the course of hundreds of thousands of years. There are few things better than a good dinner, with the exception of a sweet and delectable dessert to finish a meal off; here are a few ways you can play with your desserts as an entertainer this holiday season!
Puddings and Gelatins
When most people consider a pudding or a gelatin, they tend to think of a simple boxed mix. While these are often some of the easiest desserts to make, those with more refined pallets will find an endless array of flavor and texture combinations offered by the world of pudding and gelatin. For an unexpected treat, consider combining a sweet, fruity gelatin with a more savory dish including pork or beef — while the combination may be texturally unfamiliar the combination of prime rib and cranberry gelatin is oddly delectable. A refined pudding can make a worthy base for a noteworthy cheesecake; consider a silky, creamy goat cheesecake or an English-style toffee pudding to challenge preconceived opinions of this under-rated dessert.
Cakes, Pies, and Pastries
By and large these are the heavy powerhouses of the dessert world, these sweet baked delicacies are some of the most popular treats in our country with regional specialties coming at an endless pace. Baked goods such as cakes, pies, and pastries are filling and versatile, allowing for a wide variety of confectionary combinations. Good for nearly any occasion, the art of baking is one that is easy to pick up yet difficult to master. As a cook I can admit that my greatest passion within the culinary field is the liberty to add flavors and ingredients at a whim; baking is far less forgiving and requires adequate measurements, refined techniques, patience, and constant sifting to ensure consistency. Whether baking simple chocolate chip cookies or something far more refined such as French-style macaroons, by mastering the basics and principles anyone can achieve baking success through practice.
Ice Cream, Gelato, and Dairy Desserts
While it may be commonplace for one to lump frozen yogurt, gelato, and ice cream together as synonymous, there are indeed significant differences between these deserts to take note of. Firstly, frozen yogurt typically has a lower fat content than ice cream, leading many to consider it as a more healthy alternative to regular ice cream, whether or not this is the case. Gelato on the other hand is often churned slower and more gently than ice cream — this allows less air to make it into the final product, resulting in a denser product than typical ice cream desserts. Moreover, gelato also contains less fat than ice cream, which typically has a fat content of at least 10%. In America however, ice cream remains the single most popular dessert regularly consumed with the American ice cream industry manufacturing up to 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream and countless ice cream cups on an annual basis. For those looking to take their diary desserts to the next level, there are ice cream makers of varying sizes and prices that allow the user to make the ice cream of their dreams. Finding recipes for your ice cream maker is simple thanks to online recipes and forums; many towns even hold annual competitions for small-batch home ice cream makers, making it one of the fastest-growing hobbies in the nation!