Four senior-high school students on May 10 won a national student creativity award for developing an ice cream made from egg yolks and snow fungus.
Lo Ya-hsuan (羅亞萱), Chou En-mei (周恩美), Tseng Mei-ling (曾玫綾) and Chen Yu-wen (陳昱妏), who are third-year students at Ming-Der Senior High School in Taichung, spent a year on the project.
They found that as well as being high in calories, many ice creams contain additives, such as emulsifiers — which keep water and oil from separating, prevent crystallization and maintain the dessert’s smooth texture — or stabilizers — which strengthen its structure and prevent it from melting too quickly.
Photo: Su Meng-chuan, Taipei Times
These additives potentially lower immunity, cause skin reactions and might be carcinogenic, they said.
Being ice cream lovers, they sought to find a healthier, safer and lower-calorie alternative to the ice creams they usually ate.
They looked for substitutes to the additives in natural ingredients and consulted literature to find ingredients with similar properties.
They used the lecithin in egg yolk as an emulsifier, which made the ice-cream taste better than products with synthetic emulsifiers, they said.
To replace stabilizers, they experimented with snow fungus (Tremella fuciformis), Chinese yams, okra and powdered lotus root.
They preferred snow fungus, as the yams gave the ice cream a powdery texture, while okra and lotus root produced undesired colors, the students said.
They used the natural gelatin from snow fungus to replace 25 percent, 50 percent or 75 percent of the cream, they said.
Ice cream made with 50 percent less cream melted the slowest and could be left at room temperature for 40 minutes before completely melting, slower than even regular store-bought ice cream, the students said.
They got more than 200 people to taste their combinations and the one with 50 percent less cream was found to be the most popular, they said.
The students won first place in the hospitality category at the competition.
Over the past year, they have made and consumed 20 liters of ice cream almost every week, they said.
Although they enjoyed the process, they have each gained 2kg to 5kg, they said.
“We were happy to pay the price,” they said.
They hope to incorporate locally grown fruit into the ice cream, they added.
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