Tangy, creamy, sweet, and tart, passion fruit ice cream is really delicious!
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It was almost hot here just a few days ago. Sweat trickled down my arms and mixed with drops of blood from my wrestlings with our blackberry bushes. I wore sunglasses and a hat as I pruned back dead growth to make way for new. I was pretty sure that Spring had finally decided to stick around.
I was wrong. We are expecting a freeze both tonight and tomorrow night, and I am a bit worried about all that tender new growth that I uncovered.
A couple of weekends ago, I courted Spring by making focaccia bursting with Spring flavors. Spring did deign to drop in for a moment, but has again danced away. I swear I can hear it giggling. Infuriating, capricious Springtime.
I’m done with the flirtations of tarragon and fennel pollen. I’m reaching for a much more assertive flavor. A flavor that screams tropical sunshine. Enter passion fruit. Passion fruit never whispers. Passion fruit shouts. Surely Spring will notice me now, even if just to spite Summer.
Since my new ice cream maker showed up, I have been dreaming up all sorts of fun flavors. I have to say the passion fruit ice cream might be my favorite so far. Passion fruit is one of those flavors that’s juicy. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water in anticipation.
The ice cream is smooth and creamy. It firms up nicely in the freezer but only needs about five minutes on the counter to a scoopable texture.
I am relatively new to making ice cream, but I consider myself a quick study. If ice crystals are the enemy of smooth, creamy ice cream, the goal is to minimize them. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to limitthe amount of water in the base. For this ice cream, I cut off the water supply in two ways. First, I cooked the half and half, reducing its volume by 25%. I also cooked the puree with corn starch. The starch binds up some water and also thickens up the base. The resulting ice cream, and I guess it’s really more of a “Sicilian gelato” according to Anders over at Ice Cream Nation since it doesn’t contain eggs and uses a starch as a thickener, is smooth, dense, creamy and delicious. It melts to a thin custard-like consistency that coats the still-frozen parts like a sauce.
And now I’m going to stop talking about it so you can make some. And after I finish writing this up, I’m going to reward myself with another scoop.
I’m proud of this one, y’all, and I’m happy to be able to share it with you. Enjoy it!
- 24 oz (3 cups) half and half
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 12 oz (1 1/2 cups) passion fruit puree
- 1 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 7.5 oz (a slightly generous cup) granulated sugar
- In a large sauce pan, bring the half and half and salt to a boil. Watch it carefully so it doesn't boil over, and let it boil until it has reduced by 25%. When finished, it should weigh 18 oz (2 1/4 cups).
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into an ice bath and stir. until cool.
- In the meantime, bring the puree, lemon juice, corn starch and sugar to a boil, whisking constantly.
- Allow the puree to boil for about 10 seconds, still whisking constantly, to cook off any starchy taste and let the mixture thicken.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into the same bowl the dairy is in. You may need to add more ice to your ice bath.
- Stir the mixture together until cold, about 45F.
- Cover and refrigerate the mixture until thoroughly chilled. I shoot for about 38-39F.
- When chilled, strain the mixture once more through a fine mesh strainer and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- When the ice cream is the consistency of soft-serve, pack into a containter/s and press plastic wrap onto the surface of the ice cream.
- Put a lid on your container and ripen in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
- Allow the ice cream to sit out for 5-10 minutes for Optimal Scooping.
You'll note there is a lot of straining in this recipe. It's really necessary to get the smoothest possible result.***I have not tried this, but I am almost 100% sure that this base (the reduced half and half) and the proportion of puree to base will translate to other fruit flavors. I think mango would be an excellent variation as would raspberry. You might have to adjust the amount of sugar a bit, but it's definitely worth playing with.
If this ice cream doesn’t shout Summer, I don’t know what does. Here’s hoping that Spring decides to stick around. And if it doesn’t, just make some of this passion fruit ice cream. It will help, I’m sure of it.