Who said you can’t have ice cream in winter? Rubbish! You can and should have ice cream at any time of the year – of course, not that processed crap from the supermarket, which is overflowing with sugar, chemicals, and cheap vegetable oils. Is it possible to stick to a healthy lifestyle and still enjoy sumptuous ice cream which melts in the mouth? You sure can! And as July is the international month of ice cream, and the first flower buds are opening here in Victoria, it is only fair that I conclude this month with a recipe for delicious, allergy-friendly and good-for-you ice cream!
If you are gluten and/or dairy intolerant, you will sooner or later stumble upon the paleo diet. Without getting into all the minutiae of the paleo diet (you will find a wealth of information on the net), I always enjoy creating and sharing paleo-ish recipes, and that also goes for my favourite dessert, icecream. Coconut milk is what most paleo or dairy free ice creams boil down to – and coconut cream is a great ingredient in terms of flavour, texture, and health profile, and a great replacement for dairy milk. However, as pleasant as the taste of coconut is – coconut doesn’t always go so well as a topping for apple crumble, brownies, mud cake, or pancakes. Vanilla is what we want here – but all the vanilla beans in the world usually cannot mask the strong coconut flavour. So what is the health-conscious (or dairy intolerant) ice cream addict to do?
There are of course other milks such as almond milk. But, alas, almond milk is just not fatty and creamy enough to be used as a base for ice cream! It’s nice as a refreshing sorbetto in summer, but that’s about it. In winter, we don’t want light and refreshing, we want creamy and melt-in-the-mouth!
So…I combined the best of both worlds…half coconut cream and half almond milk! That way, we get the creamy texture of coconut milk without the strong flavour. The result is a lovely vanilla ice cream that is totally paleo and totally yummy. It doesn’t taste one bit like coconut and has about the same fat content as regular store-bought ice cream, making it the closest ice cream to the “original”. Whether you are a strict follower of the paleo diet or just use it as inspiration, this ice cream ticks all the boxes!
This ice cream is a custard based ice cream, meaning it involves cooking the ice cream base, adding eggs and chilling the mix before getting started. This way, there is a bit of preparation involved, but it is totally worth it. The non-dairy milks offer the decisive advantage not to catch like cow’s milk. Eggs are necessary as an emulsifier, hence, there is no vegan version of this. If you have paid attention during chemistry lessons, you would know that fat (from coconut cream) and water (from almond milk) are not a match made in heaven and therefore need an emulsifier to bring them together. While commercial icecream rely on industrial emulsifiers from the chemical lab to do the trick, I used nature’s very own emulsifier which was already available to the paleolithic man – eggs! Eggs are naturally high in lecithine, a natural emulsifier, and thus not only nature’s powerhouse in terms of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins, but also a super power in cooking and baking!
250 ml coconut cream
250 ml almond milk
80 g honey
1 tb vanilla
pinch of sea salt
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
Heat coconut cream and almond milk on low heat while whisking. Stir in honey, vanilla and sea salt (trust me). Take off the heat and let cool down slightly. Quickly whisk in the egg yolks. Chill in refrigerator for at least six hours or overnight. Prepare in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions (approx. 20 minutes). Serve with brownies or on its own. Use the leftover whites for pavlova.