What is 'Philadelphia-style' ice cream?

If you think ice cream is ice cream is ice cream, boy would you be wrong.

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Unlike the (sometimes) subtle differences between velvety gelato and rich ice cream, Philadelphia-style ice cream has a more pronounced, somewhat, difference between its frozen brethren. And, no, it’s not that it’s made with Brotherly Love -- though a little love never hurt a recipe.

The big difference in Philadelphia-style ice cream versus French-style, which is more like a custard -- or the more common American styles you find in the grocery store -- is the lack of egg.

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Most ice creams served in the United States are made using milk or cream (a minimum of 10 percent milk fat is required for it to be considered ice cream), egg yolk, sugar and flavoring that is then churned.

However, the Philly-style frozen treat is made with only cream, sugar and flavoring, and does not incorporate eggs of any kind, whites or yolks.

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The absence of this one ingredient does change the experience quite a bit, though, creating a lighter and smooth texture when it's churned.

But before you go touting the Keystone state’s culinary creation, the sweet treat actually has nothing to do with Philadelphia. According to Taste, the descriptor of "Philadelphia-style" was meant to evoke a feeling of high-quality food, for which Philly was known during Revolutionary times. The style of ice cream is also, but less commonly, referred to as "American" ice cream.

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Though, if you want to actually celebrate a true Philadelphia favorite, water ice is the way to go.