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What are the key techniques to create a smooth ice cream that's flavored with fresh fruit? How do I prepare the fruit, and when is the best time to add it to the ice cream?

In the past, I've had trouble where all the juice came out of the fruit and I ended up with flavored ice.

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are getting their ice cream crystallized? – Leônidas Nunes Reis Jul 29 '11 at 13:04
When you say smooth ice cream, do you mean that you don't want chunks of fruit? That is, you want to just extract the flavor from the fruit? – uncle brad Jul 29 '11 at 15:54
@uncle brad - Yes, smooth and flavored ice cream with no chunks. – KatieK Jul 29 '11 at 18:12
My suggestion would be to cook the fruit down with the sugar into a syrup mixture. – Manako Jul 31 '11 at 20:10
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Preface: I'm not a big fan of fruit-flavored stuff (I like fresh fruit by itself, just not in stuff...) so I can't speak to these from personal experience.

  • For fresh fruit, puree in a blender or similar. Moist fruits can probably be pureed in their own juices; otherwise, you'll need to add some. You'll probably want to add some sugar, but offset this by reducing the sugar you add to the ice cream mix. (Seeds might be an issue too - get seedless if possible.)
  • As Manako suggested, you can also cook it down and then puree, though this will result in a wetter mixture than with their natural juices alone. This will also present a different flavor profile from the fresh fruit, so experiment to find what you like.
  • Another possibility would be to cook out some of the water from your puree.
  • In any case, you'll want to reduce the liquid ingredients of your normal recipe by roughly the same amount as the pureed fruit you're adding.
  • In light of the previous item, you'll probably want to use a higher-fat cream than normal, since the fruit will add a lot of water.
  • Unlike "chunky" additions, you don't really care that the ice cream should be at a thick consistency before you add them. (for suspension) I'd just add it directly to the mix before you start churning.
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As an aside, for most fruits you really won't want to add more than a half-cup to a cup (?) to a half-gallon freezer if you're looking for ice cream as a result. Add too much, and you're in sorbet territory. And you still want the ice cream character to come through without being overwhelmed by the fruit. – GalacticCowboy Aug 1 '11 at 17:23
Almost any fruit or berry is going to have some pulp or seeds so if you want it really smooth, you are likely going to need to strain with a fine mesh strainer. – thelsdj Aug 1 '11 at 18:00

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