I haven’t made fruit gelato for over a year. My last recipe was Apple Pie gelato while I was at Gelato School. My experiments frequently result in a dessert lacking sufficient fruit flavor – or – frozen bits of fruit suspended in a bland base. Yes, I know about premade purees available to amp flavor, but I wanted to find a way to accomplish it without unscrewing a jar – using fresh fruit and not much else. I discovered the answer while reading the May/June edition of “Cook’s Illustrated.” Sarah Mullins’ article addressed a lackluster strawberry mouse, but it struck me that her method could work for frozen dessert challenges as well.
Her answer lies in a fruit juice reduction. Following her instructions, I pulsed the strawberries a few times in a food processor, giving them an ample surface area, and mixed them with a liberal amount of sugar and a bit of salt. I let them macerate for 45 minutes at room temperature, stirring occasionally. After maceration, I drained the juice and pureed the drained berries, straining the pulp to remove the seeds. Her stroke of genius was reducing the remaining juice to just a few tablespoons of concentrated flavor. The strawberry puree plus the juice reduction resulted in colorful dessert with a fresh tang without being icy.
Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s ‘The Perfect Scoop’ and “Cook’s Illustrated” Fresh Strawberry Mousse
1 lb. fresh strawberries (insipid store-bought berries are fine)
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. plain whole-milk yogurt
1 t. lemon juice
Coarsely chop strawberries in a food processor. Add ½ c. sugar and salt. Macerate for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, mix remaining ¼ c. sugar and yogurt. Add lemon juice. Drain juice from strawberries. Puree strawberries in food processor and strain pulp to remove seeds. Add to yogurt. Reduce strawberry juice to a few tablespoons. Cool and add to yogurt. Let rest in refrigerator for at least an hour, but overnight is preferred. Process in your ice cream maker, following manufacturer’s directions.