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kitchen centrifuge?

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I've been making fruit ice creams this summer, using a custard base recipe: start with basic creme anglaise, add cream, chill, add fruit puree and into the machine, a Cuisinart. The raspberry and blackberry versions are great; the nectarine was a problem, because to get enough fruit flavor I had to use a lot of puree, which raised the water content of the mix and led to too many (or too big) ice crystals. It tasted good, but the texture was less than ideal.

My first thought was to centrifuge the puree so as to concentrate the solids and allow some of the water to be poured off. But the only centrifuges I can find online are designed for laboratory use; they cost a ton, and they're set up to hold small test tubes, not a good-sized--say 500 ml. or so--container. Any suggestions?

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  1. What about using the pulp produced by a centrifugal juicer, such as a Breville? Mine cost $300, but they make a smaller one for half that.

    1. Interesting idea--thanks. I'm concerned that, since the point of a juicer is to give you flavorful juice, it wouldn't do what I'm aiming at, which is to remove water while leaving a concentrated flavorful puree behind. But it might be worth a try--at worst I'd have a good juicer.

      1. I've also been making a lot of fruit gelati this year. I chop fruit, add some of the sugar and let it macerate for a while - perhaps 30 - 60 minutes. This draws a lot of the liquid out of the fruit. Then I puree it before adding to the custard base.

        If your fruit is too juicy, you can reduce the liquid on the stove, just gently cooking it down. This should also intensify the flavor.

        It's a lot simpler than getting another piece of equipment.

        1. Reduction sounds good. When you macerate the fruit, is the liquid that's released fairly clear and flavorless, or does it carry off some flavor with it? I'm thinking about tomato water, which was the Trendy Food of a few years ago, and which to me has almost no taste; I'd like to be able to separate off Peach or Nectarine Water without losing flavor components.

          6 Replies
          1. re: rootlesscosmo

            The liquid tastes like very sweet fruit juice, I wouldn't discard it, it has too much flavor. If your fruit is very watery, it doesn't have a lot of flavor to start with. In-season nectarines and peaches shouldn't have this problem. In my area (Boston) we don't have good stone fruit yet, I've been doing strawberry and mangoes gelati up to now.

            Tomato water depends on the tomatoes you use. I slow-roast tomatoes to concentrate their flavor but any juices in the roasting pan are added to the food.

            I wonder if you can slow-roast stone fruits in the same way as tomatoes - mmm, could be an interesting experiment.

            1. re: cheryl_h

              Roasting sounds like a good idea! I have a recipe for Sara Moulton's Roasted Apricot Sorbet in my "try someday" file - it combines roasted and dried apricots, so I'm guessing it would be pretty flavorful.

              http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

              Anne

              1. re: AnneInMpls

                This sounds good - I bet roasting the apricots and combining with dried apricots gives the sorbet a ton of flavor. Thank you!

              2. re: cheryl_h

                Oh, yes, you can roast stone fruit - if there is anything in the world better than ripe Stanley plums split, roasted, and then sprinkled with coarse sugar and a little bit of cinnamon and run under the broiler until the sugar bubbles....

                1. re: sheiladeedee

                  Or grill peach halves, drizzle with a little honey and serve with a scoop of decent vanilla ice cream.

                  1. re: Scrapironchef

                    As surrenders go, that's a very appealing surrender. But I still want to get a creamy-textured, flavorful peach ice cream if I can.

            2. A chemistry professor friend says about the same--there's a lot of flavor in the "water," but slow roasting might evaporate just water without loss of flavor. The fruit itself isn't "watery" to eat, it just doesn't have as concentrated a flavor as the berries I've been using. (Olallieberries were the best so far but Boysens and Tayberries were pretty yummy too.) I like the combination roasted and dried idea--thanks for linking to that recipe.

              1. you've got to be a scientist, most people wouldn't know a centrifuge from a compass.

                1. What about letting it drain in several layers of cheesecloth?

                  Jenna

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: j2brady

                    Worth a try, esppecially if I sprinkled the fruit with a little sugar to draw out the liquid. The worry (as with centrifuging) would be that the liquid that drained off would take a lot of the flavor with it. Clearly I need to conduct some field trials instead of sitting here fretting about it--luckily I bought a spare freezer bowl for my ice cream maker so I can get two batches going in quick succession, then try them side by side. Two varieties of homemade peach ice cream!--well, it's a tough job, but somebody, etc.

                    1. re: j2brady

                      I was thinking along these lines. I have a yogurt strainer - looks like a cone filter, but with a fine mesh - that comes to mind. The CI zucchini bread recipe has you sprinkle the shredded zucc with sugar and let drain in a colander.

                    2. How about something as simple as a salad spinner? Line the inside with cheese cloth and spin away.