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Snow cream,can be one of two distinct desserts.
- A cream-based dessert with one or more flavoring agents added.
- A dessert in which snow is mixed with a sweetened dairy-based liquid to make an ice cream substitute.
The cream-based dessert
The cream-based variety of Snow Cream is of old lineage. It is known in continental Europe at least as early as the late 15th or early 16th century where it can be found in the Dutch recipe collection now known as KANTL Gent 15. It has been suggested that "Snow" may be even older than that.
The common ingredients for early recipes are cream, rosewater and sugar, whipped until stiff. Other flavouring agents, e.g., cloves or ginger, are also known from various recipes. It is the process of whipping cream until stiff that is often likened to snow as can be seen in passages such as "Beat your cream with a stick until the Snow rises ...". It was often draped over another item to give the appearance of snow having fallen over the item.
The snow-based dessert
The origins of the snow-based dessert by this name are hard to verify, but the technique of using snow as a main ingredient in a dessert is very old. Common ingredients for this variety are a dairy based ingredient, sugar and a flavouring agent. In adding a small amount of dairy-based liquid and a flavouring agent (similar to ice cream ingredients) into clean snow, the snow melts and congeals into a simple ice cream substitute.
Other "Snow" recipes
Apple snow, with puréed apple added to the basic recipe, was popular served hot in the 17th century while a more modern version is eaten cold. Fruit juice contents were also used in lemon and orange snow. There is a Russian version that is called air pie, which is egg white, sugar, and fruit pureé, whipped and served hot.
Summer snow is known as a version with fruit content, egg whites and alcohol.
Snowballs can be a variety of desserts. They are usually not related to snow cream desserts. One of these, which is more commonly known as slush, and is based on ice and fruit syrup, can be seen as related to Snow Cream.
A snow cone or sno cone is a frozen dessert made of crushed or shaved ice, flavored with brightly colored syrup, usually fruit-flavored, served in a paper cone or cup.
- Coquinaria.nl, http://coquinaria.nl/kooktekst/KA15Gent00.htm
- Davidson, A: Oxford Companion to Food, p. 731
- The Compleat Cook: Expertly prescribing the most ready wayes, whether _Italian, Spanish_,or _French_, for dressing of _Flesh_ and _Fish_, &c. (1658), "To make Creame with Snow"
- Ice cream, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_cream#Precursors_of_ice_cream
- Harland, Marion: Breakfast, Luncheon and Tea p. 228f, Scribner, Armstrong & Co New York, (1875)