Real Faux Ice Cream

After last week's ode to full-on fat ice cream, I heard from several readers who expressed interest in lower-cal, even dairy-free options that would make slurping possible for all of us. In the days since, I have discovered, that in the world of frozen treats, there seems to be something for everyone.

Please note that although I'm sharing how-to details below, I have not yet tested the strength of these recipes (a project before next week's frozen feature). If you get to the homework assignment before I do, please share your experiences in the comments area below!

Door Number One: DIY Froz-Fruit, No Ice Cream Maker
Sally Schneider, in her "A New Way to Cook," a huge volume devoted to healthy eating, suggests freezing fruit - berries, peaches, mangoes, papayas, pears -- freezing it until solid and then pureeing for a crystallized, sorbet effect. For creamier results, Schneider suggests adding a small amount of unsweetened coconut milk.

Fruit "Cream"

4 cups ripe, fragrant fruit (peeled, seeded or cored and cut into ½-inch chunks)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon honey or sugar (vegans, you could omit)
Options: 1-2 teaspoons rum, Grand Marnier, framboise, kirsch
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk

In a bowl, combine fruit, citrus juice and sweetener (if using). Let sit at room temperature until fruit has released its juices, about 1 hour.

Pour fruit mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid, about 2 hours.

Break up fruit with a large spoon and transfer to a food processor. Pulse until fruit has reduced to the texture of crystalline meal, stopping to scrape down the sides. Add liquor and/or coconut milk (if using) and blend until creamy.

Serve immediately, or freeze in airtight container for up to 1 hour.

I also like Schneider's idea of freezing ripe bananas, pureeing them with coconut milk, sugar, lime juice and rum, then freezing for 30 minutes for tropical results.

Door Number Two: Milk-Facsimile IC in a Machine

In "Vegan Planet," author Robin Robertson dishes up ice cream made from soy or rice milk. Without the binding action of eggs, you will need arrowroot for the recipe below.

Dairy-Free Double-Chocolate Ice Cream

4 cups cold soy milk or rice milk
2 tablespoons arrowroot
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup vegan dairy-free chocolate or carob chips

Combine ¼ cup of the milk and the arrowroot. Blend well and set aside. Place remaining 3 ¾ cups in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and sugar, and bring up to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add arrowroot mixture, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and starts to bubble, about 5 minutes. Do not allow to boil.

Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour into a bowl and chill in an ice bath. Refrigerate until chilled, then freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions, adding chips at that time.

Makes 1 quart.

Door Number Three: "Raw" IC in a Machine

Even raw foodies, who won't eat anything above 118 degrees, can get in on the ice cream action, with an uncooked "custard" of raw cashews, coconut meat and coconut butter, sweetened with agave nectar. This recipe comes from "Raw Food Real World" by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis:

Vanilla Ice Cream

2 cups raw cashews, soaked 4 hours
2 cups coconut meat
1 cup water
1 cup agave nectar
¼ cup coconut butter
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
½ vanilla bean
½ teaspoon salt

Puree all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until completely smooth. Chill thoroughly and then freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

By Kim ODonnel |  June 22, 2006; 11:34 AM ET Desserts , Frozen Treats
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Thanks so much for the vegan options! I'll probably try the first one this weekend, so I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!

Posted by: happy vegan | June 22, 2006 12:23 PM

Do you have the brand names of some Ginger Beer? I love rum, and Goslings in particular, and would love to give this a try. Thanks!

Posted by: TRISH | June 22, 2006 1:06 PM

Thanks so much for the recipes. I am anxious to try them. It is interesting that the one calls for arrowroot to help give the egg affect. I have made wonderful sorbets with my ice cream maker and the time I made more of an "ice cream" I used soy milk and a block of silken tofu -- which gave it a custardy texture. It was chocolately and delicious.

Posted by: Vegan Ice Cream | June 22, 2006 1:13 PM

Yummy - Heres one of my favs :

1-2 cups non-fat plain or vanilla yoghurt
1/2 cup plain peanut butter
2-3 very ripe bananas
blend and then add honey to taste . This last part depends on the ripeness of the bananas. Freeze and enjoy.

On the frozen banana front , I regularly freeze the very ripe ones until I find time to turn them into smoothies, banana bread etc.

Posted by: Flygal | June 22, 2006 1:48 PM

>It is interesting that the one calls for arrowroot to help give the egg affect.

I've used arrowroot as a thickener/binder before (the same way you would use cornstarch), and I know that Ener-G Egg Replacer contains different thickeners like those as well (although I generally just use it for baking). When I saw arrowroot in the recipe, I wondered if cornstarch or egg replacer would work, too...

Posted by: happy vegan | June 22, 2006 2:42 PM

Is the sugar necessary for the vegan chocolate ice cream? Would splenda work, or is the sugar structurally important? My mom is completely lactose intolerant (trace amounts of milk cause her problems), avoids sugar, caffiene and white flour like the plague, and generally worries about saturated fat. Creating desserts for her is always a challenge. This recipe looks hopeful if I can use splenda for sugar and carob powder instead of chocolate powder. She'll be awfully impressed if I manage 'chocolate' ice cream given the constraints.

Posted by: Amy | June 22, 2006 2:43 PM

Kim - the frozen yogurt recipes in the Cuisinart ICE-20 work really well. I'm better at those than I am the ice creams! Half of a quart container of yogurt, 1/2 of milk, some sugar, some fruit, etc. Stir well (I use a whisk to break up the yogurt clots) and then pour in the machine.
Use fat-free yogurt, it tastes fine!
If you use a preflavored yogurt (strawberry or vanilla/banana for example), you only need to add a touch of sugar.

Posted by: No love for the Frozen Yogurt? | June 22, 2006 3:05 PM

Kim, have you heard of Qimiq? It's still made from dairy, but supposedly it allows you to bind things without eggs and reduces ice crystals from forming in your ice cream. I think it won some airline food award too.

I think it is an Austrian product. Do you know if it is possible to buy it somewhere around here?

Posted by: still dairy, but... | June 23, 2006 1:16 PM

This seems to be a hand-made ice-cream method. It would be more easy to make ice-cream with a ice cream machine. You just put the ice cream mix into the machine. And it makes it automatically. Below is some more information.

Posted by: David | July 16, 2006 11:16 PM

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