What better way to kick off 2023 than with a recipe for a delicious treat that meets all the summer holiday requirements: it's a breeze to make, there are minimal ingredients, needs no fancy gadgets, is vegan-friendly, requires no oven and it's perfect for warm weather.
This ice cream recipe is coconut cream based, and there are a few reasons why I chose to go this route:
Prep Time: 3hrs (pre chill) and 30 min, Cook Time: 3 - 8 hrs in the freezer.
Makes approx 1 litre
**A note about the coconut cream. The simplest method involves using canned Coconut Whipping Cream, as any excess coconut water has been removed prior to canning. Regular Coconut Cream has coconut water remaining in it, something which doesn't become evident until it's chilled. As we don't want this water element in our ice cream, it's important to remove it. It's actually a quick and simple process:
At least 3 hours before you plan on making the ice cream, place the tins of coconut cream in the fridge. Chilling it makes the contents separate into two parts: solidified coconut cream and clear coconut liquid beneath. It's the solid cream that we need to use for the ice cream, so scoop it out carefully into your mixing bowl, without tipping the can too much. The coconut water left in the can is delicious added to curries, smoothies, soups or used as cooking liquid for rice, so freeze it in a container or ice cube tray for future use. Please note that if you're using the regular coconut cream, you will lose a little volume from the completed amount, as we are removing the coconut liquid which makes up roughly ¼ of each can. It's not enough to affect the recipe, and there's no need to adjust amounts of other ingredients.
You can blend the ingredients in a blender or with an electric hand-held mixer, then pour the mixture into a lined loaf pan or cake tin, ice block moulds or even ice cube trays. If using this last method, make sure to go back to the freezer half an hour after putting them in the freezer, and add popsicle sticks in every cube so they’re standing upright.
The two flavours I used for this example are hazelnut with dark chocolate freeze-dried strawberries, and choc-malt. Have fun experimenting with different flavours - the possibilities are limitless!
Base - these ingredients give you a plain vanilla ice cream that you can add to with other flavourings.
2 x 400g cans coconut whipping cream OR regular full-fat coconut cream, see above for specifications
½ cup maple syrup, rice syrup or caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract OR the seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
½ cup milk of choice (i used oat milk)
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp olive oil, hazelnut oil, walnut oil or avocado oil (optional)
½ tsp xanthan gum (optional)
Plus your flavouring ingredients:
For Hazelnut Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Freeze-Dried Strawberries:
1 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped or crushed
Approx 8 dark chocolate freeze-dried strawberries, roughly chopped
For Choc-Malt Ice cream:
⅔ cup alkalized cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder if preferred)
1 tbsp malt powder
Prepare a freezer-safe container - this is what you'll store your ice cream in. I used a silicone loaf pan, but you can use a standard 22cm cake tin lined with baking paper, ice block/ice cream moulds if you have them, or ice cube trays (if you use this last suggestion you’ll need paddle pop sticks too). Now is also a good time to make sure you've cleared enough freezer space to slide your ice cream mixture into soon!
Spoon coconut cream into a large mixing bowl or blender (and remember, if you're using regular coconut cream, to omit the coconut water as outlined above!), and blend with a hand mixer or blender for up to a minute until it's smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and mix til combined.
Pour mixture into prepared freezer-safe container Cover with cling film, wax wrap or cover of choice, then place in the freezer.
For a soft, mousse-like ice cream, you will only need to wait about 3 hours until it's ready to eat. For a firmer ice cream, you'll need to be patient for about 8 hours. Then you can use a knife to cut slices of ice cream, or use a scoop - warm it under the hot tap first to make it easier. Feel free to top your ice cream with extra goodies. In my photo you can see I topped the chocolate ice cream with a little extra malt powder, and the hazelnut freeze-dried strawberry icecream got a generous dousing of grated Spencer Chocolate (not because I am inspired or inventive, but because I forgot to reserve a couple of freeze-dried strawberries to use for garnishing at the end, so I stole the Spencer chocolate that I gifted my poor parents for christmas).
Of course, if you are using moulds or ice trays, your ice cream will be ready in an hour or 2!
Ice cream can be stored, covered well, in freezer for up to 6 weeks.
PIMP MY RECIPE
Where does one start? There are literally countless variations of ice-cream flavours, as well as a myriad of ways to serve it!
Cookies and Cream is a favourite with my kids. Just crush up a cup’s worth of biscuit crumbs. For the sophisticates amongst you, how about cardamom and orange zest with some grated Spencer chocolate? Fresh fruit like berries, stone fruit or banana are a delicious addition. Ribbons of peanut butter and jam mixed through your vanilla ice cream is also truly yummy. Have you got any panettone left over from the holiday season? Crumble it up through ice cream and its heaven.
As for how to serve it: a slice of homemade ice cream is a thing of simple beauty. But it's worth considering other ways: How about ice cream sandwiches - a slice of ice cream between 2 sweet biscuits of choice are delicious, and no cutlery needed. And of course, there's the classic affogato - pop a scoop of ice cream in a glass, then pour over a shot of hot espresso and a shot of liqueur (Frangelico or Drambuie work well).