Delicious prickly pear ice cream made with prickly pear juice, milk and cream and sugar without any custard base.
This ice cream is rich, mildly sweet, and filled with full fruit flavor.
Prickly pears are beautiful, kiwi-like fruits with a few polka dots, and each contain tons of tiny thorns.
They are native of the American Southwest and Sonoran Desert in Mexico. The plant’s sweet with magenta-colored fruit (tuna) and its broad, flat stem /pads (nopales). It has been providing essential nourishment to the inhabitants in these regions for thousands of years.
What Kind of prickly pears are good for ice cream?
I used the sweet, deep red variety which I got it from grocery stores near me. It’s dense, raspberry-watermelon flavor make it an excellent choice for ice cream and sorbet. There are yellow, orange, or green cactus pears you can make ice cream with those varieties too.
Always choose a fruit that is at its best when it is very plump, rotund, heavy for its size, and with a perfectly smooth skin. Any wrinkling towards the stem end means the prickly pears were harvested a very long time ago and will have a disappointingly mushy texture.
How to make this ice cream
For making this ice cream you need following ingredients..
- Prickly pears: Use deep red variety (Roja Pelona) for colorful ice cream
- Heavy cream: The high fat content in heavy cream and whipping cream coats ice crystals, preventing them from enlarging. It is also excellent at trapping and holding air when the mixture is stirred and frozen, which gives the ice cream more body.
- Half and Half: This also adds extra creaminess to the ice cream.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is used to make ice cream.
- Lime juice: when you make fruit-based ice cream it is always needed to add some lime juice as it helps to retain the color.
- Salt: a pinch salt goes long way in desserts.
See recipe card for quantities.
First extract the prickly pear juice. Remove the skin with a knife and de-seed the prickly pears.
In a strainer mash the fruit using a spoon extract the juice.
Heat heavy cream and half and half and sugar until the sugar is melted.
To the prickly pear juice add lime juice.
Then mix well with cream-sugar mix. You need to refrigerate at least 4 hours before making the ice cream. Overnight will be best
If you like richer and custard base ice cream use eggs. I like to make homemade ice creams without eggs.
Instead of half and half you can use whole milk
If you want, you can add spices like cinnamon.
While churning the ice cream make sure not to over churn the ice cream as it gives buttery flavor more due to high fat content.
This ice cream is soft, you need to keep it in freezer until it is served.
If you like this prickly pear muffins you will love these too.
Prickly Pear Ice Cream Recipe
- 5 prickly pears or however much makes ¾cup
- 1 tablespoon lime juice from about ½ lime
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups half and half you can use Whole milk
- 1 ½ cups cream
- ¾ cup sugar
- Cut the both end of prickly pear. Carefully peel prickly pears and discard the skins. Strain the pulp into a small bowl. Using back of spoon strain the juice using strainer. You should have about ¾ cup, so make more or use less depending on your yield so far.
- Add the rest of the flavor ingredients to the pear juice and stir to combine.
- In a non-reactive pot, stir, cream, and half and half. Add sugar and stir and heat until dissolved.
- Pour the prickly pear juice, lime juice and salt into the cream mix , stir it in smoothly. Let steep for 1 hour.
- Add mixture into a bowl or Tupperware with a lid and store in the fridge for about 4 hours or refrigerate overnight.
- Finally, put it in your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Once it’s done churning, move the ice cream quickly to a freezer-safe storage container and place in the freezer.
This is Swathi ( Dr. Ambujom Saraswathy Ph.D) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.