Vegan Mixed Berry “Ice Cream” (#60-D/E)

12 07 2013

Apologies!  I realize it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a new recipe.  But now that we’re into July and there’s nothing in the forecast but sunshine, it’s definitely time to kick up ice cream consumption into high gear.

Environment Canada weather forescast

Nothing but sunshine in Vancouver’s summer weather forecast!

There’s nothing better than a huge bowl of creamy goodness when it’s 27 degrees out.  Except if you have a dairy or egg allergy or if you are vegan.

That’s where alternative frozen treats come in.  Walk into any grocery store and dairy-free and egg-free options abound — there’s rice milk ice cream, nut milk ice cream, soy milk ice cream, and coconut milk ice cream.  But personally, I’ve been pretty disappointed with alternative ice creams.  The taste seems artificial and the texture far too gummy.  And brands that pass the taste and texture test are usually pretty pricey, up to $9.00 a pint.  Solution?  Make your own, of course!

There are two routes for making dairy-free/egg-free/vegan ice cream at home:

  1. Use a non-dairy milk as the base (e.g. rice, nut, soy, or coconut milk)
  2. Use frozen banana as the base.

I’ve explored the first option (check out my recipes for Banana Bread Ice Cream, which has the option of using soy milk, and Purple Yam and Coconut Ice Cream, which uses both soy and coconut milk), so I figured it’s time to start exploring the latter.  The method is super simple and you don’t even need to have an ice cream maker!  For this particular recipe, it was just a matter of whirling up frozen, ripe bananas and mixed berries.  Done.  Ripe bananas are so sweet that you don’t even need to add any extra sugar, which is a bonus.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

Vegan Mixed Berry Ice Cream (Makes about 1 L)

4 very ripe bananas, peeled, sliced, and frozen overnight
2 cups of mixed berries, frozen overnight (I used a combination of blueberries and strawberries)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon vodka

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Purple Yam and Coconut Ice Cream (#45-D/E)

18 01 2013

This week’s recipe features another tuber: the purple yam.  Purple yams are commonly used in the Philippines, where they are known as ube.  In North America, you can buy purple yams at most Asian green grocers.  You can also find them in some conventional grocery stores, alongside potatoes and sweet potatoes.  Purple yams have a reddish-brown skin and the most delightful purple insides.

purple yam, purple sweet potato, ube

Look at this gorgeous colour!

Purple yam and coconut are a common combination in Filipino desserts, such as ube macapuno cake and halo halo.  With this in mind, I thought I’d give purple yam and coconut ice cream a try.

This is a super simple ice cream recipe.  You puree peeled and boiled yams with some coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt and – ta da! -  your custard is done and ready for chilling.  Yes, finally, another dairy-free and egg-free ice cream recipe!

I had a bit of a chuckle as I was pouring the custard into the ice cream maker.  It was super thick and goopy because of the richness of the coconut milk and the starch in the yams, and the colour reminded me of McDonald’s Grimace character.  As for taste, the Official Taster claims it’s “gentle”.  Huh???  I will interpret that to mean “an ice cream with a soft, pillowy texture, wonderful coconut flavour, and subtle undertones of purple yam”.

Keep in mind this ice cream freezes up quite hard overnight.  Enjoy it as soon as it is chilled to serving consistency.  If you need to freeze it longer, give it a good 15 to 20 minutes on the counter to warm up before scooping.

Purple Yam and Coconut Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

2 cups of purple yams, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 – 13.5 oz (400 ml) can coconut milk
1.5 cup soy milk (or substitute dairy milk)
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of sea salt

  1. Place the yams into a medium-sized sauce pan, cover with water, and bring to boil.  Let simmer for about 20 minutes, until the yams are fork tender.  Drain the yams, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Tip the yams and the reserved cooking water into a blender and puree until smooth.

    Purple yam puree, purple sweet potato puree, ube puree

    Purple yam puree

  3. Add the coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, and salt into the blender.  Puree until very smooth.
  4. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  5. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Purple yam coconut ice cream, purple yam ice cream, ube ice cream

The Official Taster says: “Gentle.”





Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream Fail!!

17 07 2012

I was really hoping this would be recipe #18-D/E — the dairy-free and egg-free version of Caramelized Pineapple Ice Cream #18.  But after two rounds in the test kitchen, I’m tossing in the apron.  This is recipe #18-FF for FAIL.  It went something like this:

Attempt #1: The first round started with caramelizing chopped pineapple as per instructions in the original recipe, then churning it into Week 17′s Toasted Coconut Ice Cream, minus the toasted coconut.  But for whatever reason, the two wouldn’t marry; the buttery caramelized pineapple chunks together with the coconut ice cream was far too rich a combination.

Attempt#2: I prepared another batch of caramelized pineapple.  This time, I pureed it, since the chunkiness of the fruit seemed to be an issue the first time around.  To lighten up the mouthfeel, I thought I would eliminate the eggs from the recipe and go Philly-style.  So, I had caramelized pineapple puree + coconut milk + rum + sugar.  Blend it, chill it, churn it, DONE.  Easy peasy right?  Well it was easy, but the texture and taste of the ice cream still wasn’t right.  The Official Taster even said to me: “This does NOT work.”

Pineapple and coconut should be an exquisite combination, but I am currently 0 for 2.  Readers, do you have any tips for making dairy-free and egg-free caramelized pineapple and coconut ice cream?  Should I thin down the base with some coconut water?  Use more fruit?  Use more sugar?  Other?

I welcome any of your suggestions — you can post a comment or tip below.  I’d love to hear from you!





Toasted Coconut Ice Cream (#17-D)

4 07 2012

Since Week #3, my sister has been bugging me to make coconut ice cream.  I have learned that, on occasion, she indulges in Coconut Bliss, an organic, dairy-free ice cream that is made from coconut milk (obviously).  It also happens to cost about $9.00 a pint!  No wonder I’ve been nudged on many an occasion to crank out a batch of coconut ice cream for her!  Since it’s my sister’s birthday this week, I will oblige.  So, here we have it: Toasted Coconut Ice Cream, the first “Happy Coconut” recipe in the 52 Scoops repertoire.  Dairy-free and delicious!  And, it cost me less than $5.00 to make a whole litre.

Coconut milk can be a bit confusing.  When I was little, I thought the water inside the coconut was “coconut milk”.  This liquid is, in fact, coconut waterCoconut milk is made by grating the meat from a mature coconut and extracting the liquid from the meat (e.g. squeezing it through cheese cloth).  The first pressing yields a luscious, thick, flavourful milk with a high fat content.  The leftover coconut meat can then be soaked in warm water and squeezed a second or perhaps even a third time.  Subsequent pressings result in a thinner milk.  When coconut milk is left to settle, the fattier components separate and rise to the top.  This thick, buttery substance is coconut cream.

inside young coconut

The Official Taster scooping the soft, gelatinous meat from the inside a young coconut. This coconut would be too young for making coconut milk, but I thought it’d be a cool photo to include nonetheless!  (Mekong Delta, Vietnam, 2011)

I wasn’t ambitious enough to make my own coconut milk for this recipe, so I opted for the canned variety instead.  There is a huge range in the quality of canned coconut milk.  I usually use Aroy-D brand, which contains 60% coconut extract and 40% water.  Beware of cheaper brands that use less coconut extract, more water, and various additives and preservatives such as potassium metabisulphite E224.  Potass-a-what?  No thanks!

This recipe yields a very rich ice cream with a wonderful texture and chew from the toasted coconut.  The ice cream does freeze up harder and icier compared to other recipes containing dairy cream, so it is best enjoyed within a few hours of churning.  If you must store it longer, let it soften up in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to scooping.

A note to egg-freers: This recipe was also tested omitting the eggs, but, alas, I am sad to report that the results were unsatisfactory.  The ice cream was immensely hard and icy and seemed to lack depth in terms of flavour.  But don’t worry, there is lots of action in the test kitchen, and I assure you there will be egg-free Happy Coconut recipes in the near future!

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
2 – 13.5 oz (400 ml) cans of coconut milk
1 cup of dessicated coconut

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Banana Bread Ice Cream (#15-D/E)

20 06 2012
bananas

Ripe Bananas 29 cents / lb

These bananas just about overstayed their welcome at the produce store.  With so much competition from other summery fruits (Berries!  Melons!  Mangoes!), they were neglected, never chosen.  Brown spots started appearing, and that’s when they were demoted to the back of the store — marked with a blue felt-tipped pen and tossed into a bin that said Ripe Bananas 29 cents / lb.  Brilliant.  Eight pounds, please.

Speckly brown bananas are soft and sweet, have a deep flavour, and have none of those annoying stringy fibres.  While probably past their prime for eating outright, they are perfect for making banana bread — and even better — banana bread ice cream.

This is the first 52 Scoops ice cream recipe that is egg-free.  The gooeyness of mashed, ripe banana makes for a delectably thick ice cream mix that is very similar in consistency to a cooked custard.  When churned, it yields a well-structured ice cream where the flavour of the fruit takes centre stage.

As noted in my post on egg-free ice cream making tips earlier this week, egg-free ice cream recipes tend to work best with fruit flavours.  With summer officially in full swing (Happy Solstice, everyone!) and fresh fruit abound at the markets, I promise there will be more egg-free ice cream recipes to come!

Banana Bread Ice Cream (Makes about 1.25 L)

Adapted from Serious Eats

2 tbsp butter
4 bananas (about 2 cups mashed)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream*
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c chopped walnuts, toasted

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