Frank O'Kelly Written by Frank O'Kelly

How is sugar used in the desserts industry?

Without pure sugars and syrups, the desserts industry would be unrecognisable. In this week’s blog, we explain why the application of pure sugars is imperative to a huge variety of desserts, exploring three types and their sugar ingredients.

Why is sugar used in desserts?

The primary reason is flavour. Usually consumed at the end of a meal, desserts tend to be sweet to contrast with previous courses. Sugar, therefore, is ideal for providing this injection of sweetness.

Beyond this, though, pure sugars and syrups develop the nuance of flavours of the desserts they go into, ranging from mild to rich and to very strong. This diversity means different sugar products are applied in different desserts to give distinct end results.

But pure sugars also have a more functional purpose in the commercial manufacture of desserts. In particular, pure syrups provide solutions to common manufacturing challenges when producing desserts at scale. These sugars – always in liquid form – have a variety of applications, from bulking out a particular dessert to extending its shelf life.

Therefore, looking at three popular types of desserts, ice creams, puddings and tarts, we will examine sugar’s role in the desserts industry more closely.

Our signature pure sugar product, Eastick’s golden syrup, has higher sugar content than other golden syrup formulations, making it particularly suited to puddings and tarts. 

Critical application in the manufacture of ice creams

Across the world, millions of gallons of ice cream are consumed every day. Its consumption is further increased because it accompanies other types of dessert as well.

The manufacture of ice cream would not be possible without pure sugars. Specifically, invert sugar has a unique application in the production of ice cream because it has been inverted – sucrose has been broken down into glucose and fructose – meaning it is able to bind all the other elements in the ice cream mixture.

Furthermore, invert sugar’s ability to prevent crystallisation below freezing point prevents ice crystals from forming in the mixture. This property is what helps ice cream remain soft when produced commercially. In addition, this quality also means invert sugar is used to manufacture other types of frozen desserts such as traybakes and profiteroles.

Developing the robust flavour of puddings

Puddings are cakes that have been steamed and are consumed as either a dessert or as a savoury main course. In the dessert sector, puddings are typically rich and full of flavour, which has helped them become a significant part of traditional British cuisine.

Pure sugars and syrups are crucial to puddings because they develop a pudding’s flavour and colour. Indeed, the variety of pure sugars means different sugars can be substituted depending on the end result. In a syrup sponge pudding, for example, golden syrup forms the foundation, used for its distinctive caramelised flavour and higher sugar content.

However, for the UK’s favourite hot pudding, sticky toffee, there is greater potential to innovate with the sugar ingredients. This means different combinations of crystallines and syrups can be used to develop the flavour and texture of the pudding. For instance, a darker sticky toffee pudding may use both muscovado sugar and black treacle to create a richer flavour. Whereas for a lighter sticky toffee pudding, demerara sugar and golden syrup provide a sweeter taste and lighter appearance.

Defining ingredient in tarts

Tarts are a traditional style of dessert and still remain popular across the UK and Europe. Typically, a tart is a baked pastry dish in which the top of the filling is not covered with pastry.

In the UK, the most recognisable style of tart is a treacle tart. Its name is deceptive, of course, because today we would normally associate the word treacle with black treacle or molasses. However, it is actually golden syrup that underpins a treacle tart. Lemon zest and breadcrumbs are typically added to complement the syrup, but the mellow flavour of the golden elixir is what defines the tart.

A pecan tart is another fashionable tart that is also filled with golden syrup, although in lower volume compared to treacle tarts. In addition, soft brown sugar or muscovado sugar should be added to complement the sweet and rich flavour of the pecan nuts.

Ragus has over 90 years’ experience manufacturing pure sugars and syrups for the desserts industry. Contact us on +44 (0)1753 575353 or sales@ragus.co.uk to speak with a member of our team today.