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Ice Crystals In Strawberry Ice Cream

Asked by prashansa. Answered on 22nd March 2019

Full question

I made the Strawberry Ice Cream and, as instructed in the recipe, I ran the ice cream through a processor three times after each hour from the moment of putting it in the freezer. The texture still turned out to be crunchy. My custard was perfect. What could have gone wrong?

Strawberry Ice Cream
Photo by Petrina Tinslay
Strawberry Ice Cream
By Nigella
  • 14
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Our answer

Nigella's Strawberry Ice Cream (from NIGELLA SUMMER) is made with fresh strawberries and a home-made custard. When ice cream freezes the water in the mixture freezes more quickly than the fats and sugars and forms hard ice crystals, which give the ice cream a crunchy texture. When ice cream is churned in an ice cream maker the crystals are constantly broken up and this gives the ice cream a smooth texture.

If freezing the ice cream without a machine then you need to whisk the mixture or process it in a food processor at frequent intervals to break up the ice crystals, until the ice cream is almost fully frozen. This usually takes about 3 hours but the time can vary according to the temperature of the freezer and the dimensions of the container holding the mixture. It also depends on how cold the mixture was before it went into the freezer. We suggest first that you turn the freezer to its coldest setting 24 hours before making the ice cream, so that it is as cold as possible. Second, chill the custard and strawberry mixture thoroughly before transferring to the freezer. Finally, use a wide, shallow container as the mixture will freeze more quickly than in a narrow, deep container. A metal container is also good as it will chill the mixture more quickly, you can transfer the mixture to a different container once it is almost fully frozen. You may also find that you need to do the freeze-process step more than three times if the ice cream is not freezing quickly. The ice cream needs to be very thick and scoopable before you stop this process and it may take 4-6 hours if your freezer is not really cold and also if you have hot weather.

PeachMelba Pavlova

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