The lesson here is…
Sometimes you have to go to extremes to find the right starting point.
Fruit based ice creams are a bit of a challenge. Over the years I resisted. A few weeks ago I did two batches that were effectively strawberry flavored ice cubes. There was no amount of rescue to salvage the iced locked strawberry purée. But like any other failed recipe, I learned from it. The following batch was hardcore. I didn’t fool around with milk. I headed straight for the cream. It was a straight cream ice cream, and yes it was a bit much.
Surprisingly it wasn’t that far off. In subsequent batches I returned milk to the equation to help balance the fatty mouth-feel from the cream. It was good to just floor it; to see and taste the extreme. Often times with recipe development we adjust on the minuscule, which can make a big difference, but sometimes it’s just faster to flip it on end and work backwards.
The key point in making a non-icy fruit based ice cream is to remove most of the water. Strawberries, like most fruits, have a lot of water which turns into ice. It must be extracted or at least bound to something (it’s another post about stabilizers). I use the sugar maceration approach which is add a bit of sugar on the freshly cut berries and let it sit for 8 to 12 hours in the refrigerator. Strain the resulting strawberry sugar liquid and work with the berries in the ice cream. You could reduce the liquid into a intensely flavored syrup or maybe even make a hard candy. But the treasure is the sweet packed strawberries.
To heighten the flavor I add touch of “spirit” to extract some additional flavors as well as assist in the smoothing out the ice cream’s texture. I am feeling a lot more confident about doing more fruit based ice creams which is perfect timing as we get a head start to spring.