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help me tweak my strawberry ice cream?

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I followed the recipe in Edna Lewis' "The Gift of Southern Cooking," which called for only one cup of heavy cream, 1 1/2 cups of milk, 6 egg yolks and 3 cups of strawberries. And they were probably a generous three cups of berries. It came out a gorgeous pink, was bursting with strawberry flavor, and the texture was good... EXCEPT that you could "taste" infinitesimal ice crystals melting into water on your tongue, sort of before the creaminess hit your tongue. You couldn't "feel" the ice, it wasn't that the texture was icy, exactly. And it isn't that the stuff turned icy after storage, this was fresh from the freezer three hours after I churned it.

Do any of you ice cream veterans even recognize what I'm describing? Could I have used too many strawberries, which contributed too much water to the mix? Would more sugar or cream or some alcohol have counteracted the ice? Any wisdom appreciated.

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  1. You've described exactly what I don't like about most strawberry ice creams: the slight grittiness of the fruit pulp bits.

    Could it be the moisture in the tiny bits of strawberry pulp causing the ice crystals? You might lightly cook and strain the pulp to make a concentrated clear syrup (sort of like prepping for jelly making) to avoid the pulp. The ice cream texture would be more more homogenous.

    1. I'm not exactly sure if I know what caused it... or if I really understand completely what you are describing, but here are a few tips I've learned from doing a bunch of strawberry and raspberry ice creams.

      first, that is a lot of strawberry for that amount of custard base. you've got more fruit than custard. That will impact the ice cream. However, it sounds like the flavor worked well for you and the texture was just a little bit off... maybe just reducing it by 1/2 cup and see if that improves the texture.

      Also, did you let the strawberries macerate in sugar before you added them? Doing that sort of breaks down the strawberries, making the texture better for ice cream, in my opinion.

      Regarding Toodie Jane's comments... on pureeing then straining. I've done that with fruit ice creams and it works well. If you want strawberry chunks in your ice cream, though, then you can puree and strain about 3/4 of the strawberries, then just mash the last 1/4 and add. It will give you a good amount that incorporates well, while also giving you some strawberry chunks.

      Another thought... I'd flip the ratios of cream and milk - 1 1/2 cups cream to 1 cup milk. Since the strawberries have a bit of acidity to them, they'll "cut" the fat just a bit so you won't be left with that thick film when you eat it.

      Also, when I do fruit ice creams, I always wait until the ice cream is almost completely done churning before adding the fruit. Doing this allows your cream to churn more fully, before adding in the fruit, which inhibits that process a little if done early on.

      Last, I don't think alcohol would do anything for you, but I'll let others chime in. Usually the alcohol addition is for fruit sorbets, not ice creams.

      I'm really not sure if these things will help with your specific problem, but thought I'd throw them out there...

      1. Wow, you'd even wait until near the end of the churning before adding the pureed fruit? Or just the mashed?

        1. i've had good results using a reduced syrup for flavor, and adding chunks of strawberry towards the end after the proper texture has developed.

          1. Definitely wait til towards the end to add any additions. This goes for any kind of fruit, nuts, cookie crumbs, chocolate syrup, chocolate chips, etc. Also make sure your additions are chilled in the fridge before you add them.

            1. I agree with adamclyde. I've made the strawberry ice cream recipe from Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Shere and I found that when I added more strawberries than called for in the recipe the texture of the ice cream was less creamy, less smooth ... but it still tasted wonderful.