Jackfruit is a bit less common than other canned fruits like pineapple and peach but is definitely worth a try. It’s a sweet relation to breadfruit that is common in Asia and easily found in Asian markets and international grocery stores, both canned and frozen. With a taste reminiscent of banana, pineapple and bubble gum it’s a bit unusual but not so out there that it’s hard to find ways to use it. Aside from eating it out of the can, this ice cream utilizes the slightly floral and tropical notes to make a uniquely flavorful ice cream. This ice cream base can also be used with more common and easily obtained fruits like peaches and apricots as well, making it an easy treat for the upcoming summer months.
Ice cream can be both a treat and an activity. You can have younger kids help measure the ingredients and stir them together before you cook it or you can take advantage of the non-powered models of ice cream maker to burn off a little extra play time. There are tons of ways to make ice cream without a conventional ice cream maker that work just as well.
That said, if your family likes home made ice cream as much as mine does investing in a counter top model that uses a frozen core instead of ice and salt might be well worth it. If you go through the one quart that most machines make very quickly it might be worth picking up a second core to have at the ready for the next night, since they have to freeze for a full 24 hours in order to be useful. Don’t skimp on the time.
I’ve had jackfruit on many occasions, usually just eating it plain or mixed in with other fruit in fruit salads but recently was given a cup of ice cream from the Philipines that was lightly flavored with jackfruit and decided to make my own version. In many other countries ice cream isn’t quite as rich as we take it here, but this fruit takes well to the lighter ice milk types as well as the full on superpremium, full fat decadence on a spoon types. Whichever kind you choose to make will come out fine, provided you like the taste of the custard you start with. I’ve used an almond milk base here, which will be a welcome alternative to soy and rice based ice creams commonly given to those who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy but the dairy version is pretty good too. Use whichever combination of milks you like. As long as there is some fat and sugar from somewhere in the mix it will come out fine. I use some coconut milk to add richness, but if you like a more ice milk, lighter textured ice cream leave it out. For your sugar you can use either plain white sugar or use some of the syrup in the can from the jackfruit, provided it’s not corn syrup and you like the taste of the stuff. Make sure your mix is a bit sweeter than you would like it to be when it’s done, as the cold numbs your taste buds a bit and you’ll need to compensate. For the pictured batch of ice cream I just diced the fruit into small bits, but usually I would run it through a food processor until it resembles chunky applesauce so as to disperse it more. Today I wanted texture so I went with dice. Do whatever suits you, or whatever suits your ability or willingness to clean another appliance.
This ice cream is smashing served over other fresh fruit, on top of a slice of pound cake or just by itself with a spoon.
Jackfruit Ice Cream
(makes about 1 quart)
3 cups vanilla almond milk (or rice, soy or lowfat/skim dairy milk)
1/2 cup coconut milk (or soy creamer, cashew cream, heavy cream) OR another 1/2 cup milk
3 Tablespoons sugar or 1/4 cup syrup from fruit can
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can of jackfruit (or equivalent amount of peaches, apricots, bananas, etc.), drained, syrup reserved if needed
Pour all but 1/3 cup of the milk/cream into a saucepan along with the sugar and heat to near boiling. In a separate small cup or bowl mix the cornstarch and remaining milk into a slurry and set aside. While the milk and sugar heats up, either chop or process the fruit into the desired size and texture. Add slurry to hot milk, stirring often to keep from curdling. Taste the custard and adjust for sweetness or vanilla level if needed. Add the fruit to the custard and cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and leave a distinct trail when you draw a finger down the back of the spoon. Remove custard from heat and chill in the fridge until ice cold. The recipe up to this point can be done well in advance of when you wish to freeze the ice cream. When it is cold, usually after two hours in the fridge, freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions for your machine.
-Home made ice cream starts out far softer than commercial, but freezes much harder when you put it away due to the lack of air being added while freezing. If it comes out of the freezer too hard to handle you can either let it sit on the counter for five or ten minutes or zap it in the microwave for 7-10 seconds. The lower the fat and air content the harder it’s going to freeze, so keep that in mind if you’re making this with straight skim milk–it will be a brick in the freezer. Freezing the super low fat/sugar versions in smaller cups has worked well for me in the past, and makes portion control/counting easy too. They also soften up a bit faster due to the smaller size.
-Alcohol can also impede the freezing, but might not be the best idea if you’re serving this to your kids. Mango rum would be ideal here, or another lighter tasting spirit like plain old light rum or vodka. If you’re going to use it, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup to the cooling custard so that the alcohol doesn’t burn off. You might taste it, but it won’t be enough to make you tipsy.