Sunday, April 3, 2011

Roasted strawberry banana ice cream

I had been thinking of making roasted strawberry beet ice cream, but, as I've actually been craving ice cream recently, I decided to go a route with a higher chance of creating something actually palatable.

I started by cleaning a pint of strawberries and cutting them into equally-sized small pieces. I added two medium bananas, sliced in half and roughly chopped, tossed them in a Tablespoon or two of demerara sugar, [For those unfamiliar, demerara sugar is essentially old-fashioned brown sugar. Modern brown sugar is made by returning some molasses to refined sugar. Demerara is made by leaving the molasses in.] and roasted at 375 degrees for 1 hour, with one stir in the middle.

I used a fairly large pan and a fairly high temperature to make sure the juices would evaporate. The point here is to concentrate the flavors into a smaller volume so the final ice cream will pack more punch per spoonful.

I blended the results with:
1/2 cup demerara sugar
1 pinch salt
juice from 1/2 lime
2 Tablespoon rum
2 teaspoons vanilla, and
1 1/2 cups cream.

Without the juice to thin the cream out, the result was rather thicker at this stage than the other fruit ice creams mixtures I've made. To compensate, I added 3/4 cup milk.

I was happy with the texture then, but it thickened up in the refrigerator overnight and it didn't seem quite sweet enough at that temperature. So, to thin it some more and adjust the sweetness back up without modifying the flavor balance too much, I added 1/4 cup agave nectar.

That all went into the churn. My kitchen was hotter than I would have liked which have have affected the thickening, but the alcohol and fructose worked against that too. Either way, it was rather softer than I would have preferred when I ran out of cold 25 minutes into churning and it wasn't able to hold on to a lot of churned in air, so it's kind of dense. Well, it'll have to do.

Since I had some on hand, I swirled in some Hershey's strawberry syrup. It's 100% artificial so it the flavor is less Strawberry than it is just Pink, really, so there's some contrast with the ice cream.

Here it is after ripening:

The texture is a little dense, but not hard even straight out of the freezer. If you're not going to have super-premium fat levels, denseness is a good second choice texturewise. I should have blended the mixture either a little more or a little less as there is the occasional tiny bit of fruit or maybe it's a little curdling from the citric acid in the cream. It's a minor unpleasantness. Roasting the fruit let me replace a lot of water with cream so it's richer than other fruit ice creams I've made and the tendency towards crystalization seems to be lower.

Straight out of the freezer the tart berry flavor really pops. After letting the ice cream soften a little, a more rounded fruit flavor emerges. The strawberry syrup brings the berry out above the banana a little bit. The result is reminiscent of the good quality strawberry syrup with pieces of fruit in it you get in ice cream parlors. And that inspired me to add chocolate syrup which creates a passable approximation to a banana split. If I had known it was going to work out that way, I would have roasted some pineapple too and added some candied walnuts. But it's just dandy as is.

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