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Monday, January 23, 2012

Fruit Minestrone, Passion Fruit Coconut Cream and Mascarpone Ice Cream

Add strawberries when in season to add a color contrast!

I think that the best way to end a great meal is with some fresh fruit.  It gives you that closure that comes with a little sweetness without making you feel heavy and stuffed! 

This recipe is really easy to make and can be done with any fresh fruit you enjoy.  Here, I have used sweet pineapple, mango and kiwi (it is winter so selection is limited).  Had I had fresh strawberries or raspberries, I would have added them for color.  

The passion fruit and coconut cream are added to balance the acidity of the fruit and the mascarpone ice cream keeps it in line with the Italian theme of minestrone.  You could, however, use a good quality vanilla ice cream or any flavor that you like.

Finally, what makes this a bit fancier, is that all the fruit is cut as a brunoise (small cubes that measure about 2mm per side).  This looks nice and gives you the chance to get all the flavors combined in one mouthful.

You will need:  for 4 people 

  • 4 slices of sweet pineapple, peeled and cut lengthwise down the sides and then cut into brunoise;
  • 1 medium mango, peeled and sliced lengthwise and cut into brunoise;
  • 2 kiwi, peeled, sliced in rounds and cut into brunoise;
  • 1 cup (250 ml) of passion fruit juice* or bottled smoothie mix
  • 1 cup (250 ml) of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • Fresh basil or mint leaves
*  I could not find passion fruit juice so I bought one of those all natural smoothie drinks.  Mine was mango, orange, lime and goji.  This works just as well and adds even more flavor!

Trim uneven edges and keep for a snack

Use a mandoline if you have one to get even slices.


  1. Place the smoothie juice or regular juice in a pan on medium high heat.  Reduce by half  to intensify the flavors (about 15 minutes);
  2. Add the coconut milk, sugar and vanilla extract and reduce again about 5 minutes, let cool;(the texture should be that of cream. If it is not thick enough, reduce longer);
  3. Mix the fruit brunoise together.  This can be prepared ahead of time, kept in the fridge and assemble just before serving;
  4. Ladle the coconut cream into a deep dish plate or bowl and spoon the fruit minestrone over it.
  5. Add the ice cream and a few fresh basil or mint leaves, serve at room temperature.
  6. Serve with a nice cookie selection.

Mascarpone Ice Cream:  Makes enough for the recipe and more to keep in the freezer and enjoy later (about 1/2 liter)!

* Remember to place the ice cream maker bowl into the freezer overnight if you are using this type of machine.
  • 250 ml (1 cup) of milk
  • 250 g (1 small container) of mascarpone
  • 4 egg yolks (use good quality organic eggs)
  • 170 g (about 3/4 cup) of sugar
  • 1.5 vanilla beans, sliced lengthwise and seeds scraped with the back edge of a knife

  1. Put half the sugar, the milk, the scraped vanilla seeds and the beans themselves (to infuse) in a saucepan on medium heat until bubbles start to form on the edge (you don't need to stir this as the sugar will form a caramel at the bottom of the pan and prevent the milk from sticking);
  2. Whisk the remaining sugar with the egg yolks until the mixture lightens (wait to do this until the cream mixture is hot as the sugar will cook the eggs if you let it sit too long);
  3. Gently pour the hot milk into the eggs whisking quickly (if you add the hot milk too fast, you'll cook the eggs and they will scramble.   By slowly pouring the hot milk into the eggs, the temperature of the eggs rises slowly and you avoid this problem - this is tempering the eggs);
  4. Return the combined ingredients to the saucepan and gently heat (medium low), stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken and when it coats the back of a spoon, it is ready;
  5. Pass through a fine mesh strainer and let cool in an ice bath (cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface);
  6. When the mixture has cooled, whisk in the mascarpone until it is well combined.  Place into the frozen ice cream maker bowl and turn on.  It should take about 40 minutes to reach soft ice cream texture.  Transfer to a covered container and place in the freeze to continue the freezing process.


  1. Looks delicious! Do you know if there's a way to make ice cream without an ice cream maker? My kitchen is low on kitchen appliances and there isn't really space for an ice cream maker anyway...

    1. Hi Miss Peaches,

      Basically, what the ice cream maker does is mix the cream mixture while freezing it (thus adding air and allowing for a smoother crystalization process). You can therefore do this by hand by placing the cooled custard in the freezer and stiring or whisking it every 1/2 hour for about 2 or 3 hours. You can use a hand mixer if you have one or just a whisk. Mix it for a few minutes and return it to the freezer. Because this custard is rich due to the mascarpone, you should have good success! Good luck


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