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Stabilizers in Ice Cream Part 2: Strawberry Ice Cream

Icy chunks of frozen strawberries in ice cream are the culinary equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard. Blending the fruit helps, but all the water in the juice still makes for an ice cream that tastes more cold and frosty than smooth and creamy. After my previous experiment with stabilizers in vanilla ice cream [1], I decided to give the problematic strawberry ice cream another shot, this time with xanthan gum powder.

The result was a perfect strawberry ice cream that was as good as any version I’ve had, without even a hint of iciness. The amount of xanthan gum was just enough to compensate for all the water in the fruit, but not enough to make it taste like some of the fake, too-sticky commercial ice creams. This was a winner.

Strawberry Ice cream

16 ounces fresh strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
Juice of half a lemon
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon xanthan gum powder

(makes a little more than a quart)

Hull the strawberries and slice them in half. Add the sugar and lemon juice, cover, and refrigerate for an hour. Then mash the strawberries and strain out the excess juice. The juice can be saved for later, and cooked down to a syrup to be poured over the ice cream. Follow the instructions in my Sweet Cream Base [2] post to combine the eggs, sugar, cream, and milk. Mix the sweet cream base with the strawberries in a blender, and add the xanthan gum powder while the blender is running. Before freezing it in an ice cream maker, taste the mix to make sure it’s sweet enough. If the strawberries aren’t quite as sweet as you’d like, add a bit more sugar until it tastes right. I ended up adding another two tablespoons to the recipe above, but the ripeness of your strawberries may give you a different result.