Peter Gordon: The good oil on frozen desserts
What is the difference between a sorbet, a frozen sherbet and a fruit ice? And gelato has egg and cream in it, so what makes it different from icecream? I've also never figured out where a semifreddo fits in to all those, but is that one you can make without an icecream maker? - Jeremy
In the world of frozen desserts it can be very confusing, Think of sherbet, sorbet and fruit ice as having no eggs or dairy product. Gelato can also be made without egg or cream. Parfait and semifreddo are similar, and usually made by whipping an egg sabayon and cream separately, adding flavours and folding gently together. All can be made in terrine tins to be sliced, or scooped, although granita is shaved last minute and made from flavoured juice or syrup.
I love using pomegranate syrup and have access to a pomegranate tree. Do you know how I could make my own? - Maggie
Juice pomegranates using an orange juicer (but wear an apron as they spray everywhere) and then bring to the boil with a little white sugar. Once it comes to the boil reduce over a very low heat - boiling too long destroys their perfume. If it's too sour, add extra sugar.
I've seen a Swiss raclette maker advertised for more than $350. I thought raclette was a melting cheese but is it also a dish? Can I make it at home without a special machine? - Sam Perkins
The machine is likely to be a sort of revolving grill - like a Lazy Susan that grills cheese from above while underneath it are dishes you fill with sliced cooked potato, gherkins and meat, etc. You can simply grill cheese under your oven grill, but it won't have the "do it at the table" appeal of the former. In Switzerland they also melt the cheese with gas - fired jets from below. Who knew raclette cooking was so much fun?