Summer’s here, and so is ice cream season!
I recently became the proud owner of an ice cream maker, thanks to a Craigslist acquisition that also got me a crock pot and a waffle iron. Seriously, if you need kitchen appliances that are a tad on the expensive side, take a look at Craigslist – you’ll often find perfectly good items that are only slightly used, and cost much less than going to the store. Recycling! Anyhoo, with summer upon us in full force, I wanted to break out the ice cream maker to whip up a batch of refreshing, fruity, seasonal vegan ice cream. Enter Ginger Peach Ice Cream!
This is actually a slightly-modified recipe from Cathe Olson’s Lick It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love, which was recommended to me by a friend. The recipe is a simple peach ice cream recipe which calls for fresh peaches, coconut milk, sugar or agave nectar, and vanilla extract. So simple, and without a miles-long ingredient list that many ice creams, vegan or otherwise, tend to boast in the store. I got a little lazy though, as the recipe calls for four cups of fresh peaces sliced and peeled; and instead used 1-1/2 16 oz bags of sliced frozen peaches from Whole Foods. Because of this, I also omitted the optional cooking step for the peaches in the book’s recipe. I defrosted the peaches before using, just to make it easier to blend; but you can keep them frozen if you have a strong blender (as opposed to a $20 blender from Target).
First you blend together the coconut milk, choice of sweetener (I did an even blend of agave nectar and granulated sugar), and vanilla; I also added a tablespoon of ground ginger to this step to give the ice cream a bit more zip. Plus, peaches and ginger go insanely well together. I would recommend using ground ginger as opposed to fresh ginger root, since the former has a slightly sweeter taste (as opposed to being all spice) and, perhaps more importantly, blends really well with the liquids since it more easily dissolves. However, if you’re a fresh ingredient purist, I’m sure you could use minced or grated ginger root as well. After these ingredients were blended, I added one bag’s worth of peaches to the blender and blended completely, as instructed by the book. I liked that the fruit is pureed to become a part of the ice cream, as opposed to this being a vanilla ice cream with peach chunks; the latter is cheating! But I do also love peach chunks in my ice cream, so once the peaches were blended with the coconut-ginger mixture, I added the remaining half-bag of peaches and pulsed them until they were chopped finely in the mixture.
Up next comes the longest part – letting the mixture cool. The book instructs you to let the mixture cool in the fridge for at least 3 hours. This is very important, as a mixture that’s not cold enough will not freeze properly in an ice cream maker. Once three hours passed (wherein I watched old B-movies and surfed the web), I simply started up my ice cream maker, poured in my ginger peach mix, and 30 minutes later, had delicious homemade ice cream!
I like this recipe because of both the minimal ingredients and the large use of less-processed products like organic coconut milk (the coconut milk I bought had three ingredients as opposed to the encyclopedia often found in other nondairy milks). Yes, it’s still a treat (especially with the sugar), but it’s definitely a better alternative to both dairy-based ice creams and expensive store-bought vegan ice creams. I definitely want to make more of the recipes soon!