Dessert is a course that concludes the main meal consisting of sweet dishes and beverages like wine or liqueurs, but coffee, nuts or other savory items could also be a part of the dessert. It is served after the main course typically ending the meal. The term dessert roughly means sweets like cakes, cookies, tarts, ice creams, custards and puddings. Many a times, fruits are also included in dessert courses because they contain a natural sweetness.
Ingredients used in Desserts: Desserts usually contain palm syrup, cane sugar, honey, maple syrup and corn syrup as sweeteners. Western style desserts also include ingredients like fats, butter, eggs, dairy with lemon juice and spices. Flavoring agents like peanut, fruit, chocolate and nuts are necessary ingredients. The preparation methods and the proportions of the ingredients play an important role in the texture, consistency and flavor of the dessert. Some desserts use coffee or alcohol as ingredients to make coffee flavored or alcoholic desserts.
Varieties of Desserts: Desserts have always been an essential part of a meal. There are different variations of desserts in the American culture that have often been passed down generations. In the present times desserts can be categorized in many types.
- Cakes and Pastries: are often used for ceremonial occasions but now we have cakes that are served as desserts filled with fruit preserves or dessert sauces with icings of various cream flavors. Pastries are sweet baked products like a croissant often filled with fruits, nuts, chocolates and spices.
- Chocolates and Candies: are a favorite with both young and old. Chocolate is prepared using cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar and roasted and ground nuts, seeds with different flavorings. There are endless varieties of chocolates like milk chocolate, dark chocolate and liquor chocolates.
- Puddings and Custards: are desserts with a thick dairy base. The thickening agents are often eggs, cream, jelly and cornstarch. Puddings include crème brulee, bread pudding, banana pudding, soufflé and the list can be endless. Custards and puddings can also be used as filling for pastries or pies.
- Frozen desserts: are usually ice creams in a large variety of flavors and tastes. Ice cream is made with a cream base that is churned as it is frozen to make a creamy consistency. Shaved ice desserts are made with the shavings of a block of ice and adding juice and flavored syrups. Jellied desserts are made with gelatin added to a sweetened liquid. Fruits and whipped cream is added to these jellied syrups before it is chilled to give it a very smooth texture.
- Deep- fried desserts: can be eaten as a dessert or a snack too. Americans cuisine includes a deep fried starch based dough or batter called a doughnut. These doughnuts have
fillings of custard, jelly or deep fried fritters. Doughnuts have attractive toppings of chocolate, vanilla cream and colorful fritters
Dessert is thus an important and sweet way to end a meal helping to digest a heavy meal too. A dessert is as important to a meal as a dress is to a woman.