Freeze dried fruit is almost like the secret ingredient to making the most flavorful and fresh ice cream. It really is a game changer because it adds all the perfect fruity flavor without compromising on the texture of the ice cream. In case you are not familiar with freeze dried fruit, then we can simply describe them as frozen fruit, minus any natural water content in the fruit. There is no sugar added in the fruits to preserve them either, and the result of a fruit going through the freeze drying process is bright and flavorful fruit that can be ground into a dry and fine powder. The fact that the fruit becomes dehydrated fine powder is what allows it to be incorporated into liquids and desserts without any risk of ruining the dessert’s level of sweetness, or overall consistency.
While it might be tempting to use fresh fruits and purees, they are recommended to be kept reserved as toppings only, since incorporating them in your ice cream base is most likely to result in either bland, overly sweet and/or icy ice cream.
This recipe calls for blueberries, but you can substitute blueberries for any freeze-dried fruits that are available in the grocery stores near you. Examples of different stores include Whole Foods, Kroger and Trader’s Joe’s to name a few.
To start of the recipe, you first create the base, which is essentially a Swiss meringue. Now, Swiss meringue is a mixture of egg whites and sugar, along with the addition of either cream of tartar or lemon juice in order to balance the amount of sugar present in the meringue. You are then supposed to whip the mixture until it is thick and glossy forming peaks.
Once the neutral meringue base is made, you need to add traditionally whipped cream since it is still lighter compared to food process whipped cream. You can add the freeze-dried fruit, which in the case of this recipe is freeze-dried blueberries, into the whipped cream as well. After this, you can choose to have add-ins like spices or herbs like thyme, mint, cinnamon, etc. in your whipped cream as well depending on your preferences.
After you have flavored your whipped cream, you slowly incorporate your meringue into the whipped cream little-by-little and making sure that you fold the mixture every time you add more meringue. During this step, you can also choose to add a splash of flavored alcohol like coconut rum, limoncello, and other spirits, etc.
Once your meringue and whipped cream are nicely incorporated into each other, you transfer the entire mixture into a non-reactive container. You then cover the surface of the ice cream with a plastic wrap, then add a layer of aluminum foil.
It will take approximately 6-8 hours till your ice cream properly sets and can be eaten, and during this 6-8 hour period, your ice cream will not only deepen with color but will also increase the depth of flavor in your ice cream as well. After the designated waiting period has passed, you will have a lovely flavorful ice cream that will be perfect during the summer months.