Non-Dairy Frozen Adventures
"Do you think it's worth buying an ice cream maker?" Celebritologist Liz Kelly asked me last week. "After all, I don't eat much dairy."
I explained to my vegan pal that making your own frozen desserts -- with or without dairy or eggs -- is an incredibly satisfying endeavor that is also surprisingly easy. I told her I saw both homemade sorbet and soy "cream" in her future, and that yes, it's worth plunking down 50 bucks (the going in-store price for a model from the Cuisinart ICE line -- but even cheaper online) to learn what the appliance fuss is all about. Sure enough, Liz purchased an ICE-25 in preparation for her upcoming beach vacation and requested a few MA links to get set up.
I too have had frozen treats on the brain; with Mister MA's 40th birthday this weekend, I knew some kind of ice cream-y concoction was in the cards. In the heat of an inspired moment, I asked Miz Celebritology if she'd like to give her new toy a test run.
We decided on two non-dairy treats -- chocolate sorbet and mixed berry soy "cream." Admittedly, I knew more about sorbet but had no first-hand experience in soymilk ice cream making. I was curious to see how the soymilk would behave in the machine.
For berry-flavored ice cream or frozen yogurt, Lebovitz suggests pureeing the fruit with lemon juice and sugar, then straining the mixture to minimize seeds and skins. Typically, I'd leave in the antioxidant-rich skins, but it's all about texture in the ice cream world.
We blended the berry puree with soymilk and two other key (and intriguing) ingredients -- silken tofu (for stabilizing) and coconut cream (the stuff that rises to the top in a can of coconut milk), resulting in a full-flavored base with promising frozen potential.
With her churning canister in the freezer (24 hours of advance freezing time is an absolute must for newer models, which eliminate the need for rock salt), Liz was ready to make some ice cream.
While lightning lit up the sky and the wind blew trees around like batons, Liz's pinky-purple-y mixture went into the frozen bowl and began its journey to ice cream land. Within 20 minutes, Liz had a certifiably frozen treat, a soy soft-serv that just might fool a dairy lover. Fruit forward with coco undertones, we ruled it a success.
Liz was beaming. "I feel like I've been let in on a secret!" she exclaimed.
Meanwhile, the chocolate sorbet mixture was chilling, and by nightfall, Mister MA had his first serving, an intensely chocolate-y concoction that proved to be a serious ice cream stand-in. Although a tad grainy (chocolate is quite persnickety without stabilizing fats), the end result is surprisingly creamy and a non-dairy shoo-in. Score!
It's chat day: Discuss non-dairy and other kitchen adventures today at Noon ET.
Frozen Treats from the MA archive.
Mixed Berry Soy "Cream"
Adapted from "Veganomicon" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
2 cups mixed berries (Liz used strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup cream of coconut (the cream that rises to the top of a can of coconut milk)
1 cup plain soy milk
6 ounces firm silken tofu (I prefer the vacuum sealed, non-refrigerated package)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
In a blender or food processor, puree berries, sugar and lemon juice. Scoop out and pass through a strainer or fine sieve to remove seeds and skin. Return berry puree to machine and add cream of coconut, soy milk and silken tofu, and puree until ingredients are completely blended.
Pour into a plastic container and chill in freezer for about 30 minutes, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. The soy mixture came together in about about 20 minutes.
Makes about one quart.
From "The Perfect Scoop" by David Lebovitz
2 ¼ cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large saucepan, whisk together 1 ½ cups of the water with sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. While whisking, allow mixture to boil for about 45 seconds.
Remove saucepan from heat and stir in chocolate until melted, then stir in vanilla and remaining ¾ cup water. Transfer mixture to a blender (KOD note: I used an immersion stick blender) for 15 seconds. Chill mixture thoroughly -- for 2-4 hours in the freezer or 6-8 hours in the fridge -- then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
If mixture becomes too thick in machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.
Makes about one quart.
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