With autumn approaching I’ve been kicking back with my feet up on the 1/2 gallon freezer (log fire, pipe, slippers, smoking jacket – you know the scene)Â and reflecting on a long successful summer of cranking. Looking back it seems that I’ve been so busy that I’ve written up precious few batches into the blog, so here’s an attempt to correct the situation.
Back in June I went to visit my folks in Huddersfield to celebrate father’s day and cranked up this batch as part of a special father’s day meal. I made passion fruit sorbet many years ago and remembered to have a really exciting taste: good acidity, Â balancing an exotic flavour. I thought it would be interesting to see how it worked in a Russell recipe.
Passion fruit icecream (for 1/2 gallon freezer)
- 1 cup of passion fruit juiceÂ
- 2 cups fresh double cream (48% fat)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup, less 1 tablespoon, granulated white sugar
- Top up can with full fat (4%) milk (approx 3-4 cups)
A note about passion fruits
I can’t specify how many passion fruits you’ll need to produce 1 cup of juice for 2 reasons
- I’ve forgotten how many I used in this batch.
- The amount of juice you get from a passion fruit is not predictable, as it depends on how dehydrated they are and how vigorous you Â are at extracting the juice from them.
The issue of dehydration is worth and extra mention. When I made passion fruit sorbet previously I had no idea how to pick a good fruit so a whole selection in varying stages of ripeness from smooth skinned and firm, to tiny, ripe and wrinkled. There seems to be an ideal point when they start to get crinkly and smell heady and ripe but still have enough juice in them to make them useable. I think the best way to pick a fruit is to find one that smells good and check its weight in your hand Â – if it feels like a ping pong ball then it doesn’t matter how good it smells, there’ll be no juice in it and you won’t get any of the aroma into the icecream. You can see from the first picture that the flesh was just pulling away from the inside of the skins of the fruits I used for this batch, I think thats a good sign.
You have to hand it to passion fruit they’re very aesthetically pleasing. I particularly love the colour contrast between the green-yellow flesh and the red-purple-white skins. I also love the slimy, primodial soup / frog spawn feel of the scooped out flesh.
To separate the pips and the juice I rubbed the flesh through a metal seive and then put the remaining seeds in one leg of my trusty pair of tights (see blueberry icecream for the big tights vs muslin debate between Peter and I) and squeezed the remaining juice out. Through pure accident I ended up with almost exactly 1 cup of juice which turned out to be about right for flavouring.
The rest is just classic Russell recipe, but here are some nice pictures of eggs and stuff to illustrate the point.
A note about the quirks of my 1/2 gallon freezer
As you can tell from many blog entries we often end up standing on top of the 1/2 gallon freezer to add stability to it in the final stages of cranking. At this stage you need to generate a fair amount of torque on the crank to keep it going to a good consistency, however without standing on the machine its impossible to do this without flipping the machine on its side. Now the crank mechanism is cast iron and the bucket is old wood which gets a big soft and soggy with all the brine during cranking, so its unsurprising that the crank grandually produces and indent in the rim of the bucket. Unfortunately this is a real problem because it means that eventually a gap develops and the crank isn’t supported by edge of the bucket and Â rests directly on the can. This not only makes the mechanism rock around and occasionally sieze during cranking but also causes the crank to cut into the metal of the can top (producing a tell-tale ring on the top) an introduces unwanted friction into the system.
All this is difficult to explain in words but easier to understand by seeing it.
Anyway the end result is that I’ve taken to putting a wedge in the gap to keep the crank seated at the correct height. I’ve found a wine bottle cork cut in half lengthways to be absolutely perfect for this (and given my love of opening a good bottle at the slightest excuse – almost always available).
Â With the machine prep’d we got on with the business of cranking. Since it was Father’s day I let Dad do some cranking too!
Â Unfortunately disaster struck in the final moments of cranking when one of the cogs in the internal mechanism split. This is the second time I’ve managed to break this freezer. The first time was making a batch of choc and orange when I overcranked it and the part where the crank arm screwed on to the crank shaft split. I managed to make a new crank arm from a bar of mild steel (you can probably see from the picture above that the crank arm is a handle is just a straight block of metal instead of graceful curved triple motion original).
Thankfully this batch had frozen when the machine broke so we still got our pud.
I served it up with a homemade lime tarte, some physalis and a glass of chilled dessert wine (Jurancon – vendange tardives I think).
As you can imagine the aftermath of this batch was a search for a new 1/2 gallon freezer. I’d like to put a special huge thankyou out to Walt for fixing me up with a new machine, the very one which is propping up my feet now
…and we’re back to the pipe, slippers and log fire again…