While it may lack the romance of fresh-from-the-farmers-market produce, freeze-dried fruit is second to none for making a vibrantly colored, ultra-fruity no-churn ice cream. Because it contains zero moisture, freeze-dried fruit can be ground into a fine powder that dissolves readily in the base, lending a more concentrated dose of flavor and color than fresh fruit could achieve, along with a creamier consistency.
No-Churn Freeze-Dried Fruit Ice Cream
Everyone loves the idea of a secret ingredient, a pinch of a mysterious something that elevates a recipe. But, as with many types of sorcery, this power comes at a cost. So it goes with this outrageously purple ice cream, which trades the romance of fresh, seasonal fruit for the sheer power of its freeze-dried form.
Unlike fresh fruit, which is loaded with water, freeze-dried fruit is a zero-moisture ingredient that helps stabilize this no-churn ice cream, while adding a concentrated dose of flavor and color.
Fill a large pot with a few inches of water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to maintain a simmer for a steady supply of steam. Crumple a long strip of foil into a thick ring and place ring into the water; this will act as a "booster seat" later in the process to keep the bowl from touching the water or the pot directly.
Combine egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar or lemon juice in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place stand mixer bowl over the water bath so it sits on the foil ring; the bowl should not touch the water or the bottom or sides of the pot. Cook, stirring and scraping continuously with a flexible spatula, until egg white mixture reaches 165°F (74°C). This should take no more than 5 minutes in a stainless steel stand mixer bowl; if it takes substantially longer, this simply means the heat is too low. If the mixture cooks too fast, or scrambles despite constant stirring, this indicates that the water has come to a boil or that the water or pot is able to touch the bowl.
When the mixture reaches 165°F (74°C), transfer bowl to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip at high speed until meringue is glossy, stiff, and thick, about 5 minutes, although the time this takes will vary depending on the power of a given stand mixer.
Once meringue is thick and stiff, whip heavy cream, freeze-dried fruit until this mixture is thick and stiff as well. This can be done by hand in a separate bowl, or on a stand mixer in the original stand mixer bowl if the meringue is transferred to another container (no need to wash the bowl or whisk attachment between uses). For the purposes of making ice cream, this step cannot be done in a food processor or blender, which will not provide adequate aeration.
Using an open whisk or flexible spatula, gently combine whipped cream and meringue, working carefully but thoroughly to ensure the mixture is well combined but not deflated. Taste and season with additional salt as needed.
Scrape ice cream into a large nonreactive container, such as a 2-quart baking dish, and cover with a layer of plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface of the ice cream. To protect the ice cream from freezer odors, cover again with a sheet of foil, or a lid if the container has one. Freeze until firm enough to scoop. The freezing time required will vary depending on the size and material of the container, but expect this to take between 6 and 8 hours. Once the ice cream is cold, scoop and serve in chilled dishes.