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Well, today is finally the release of Isa Does It. But who cares? Here’s an amazing ice cream recipe! Yeah, maybe the days are getting colder, but I’ve always loved ice cream on a chilly day and who doesn’t want to eat everything pumpkin during autumn? Watch how easy it is in a new episode of Make It Vegan!
I spent forever coming up with a really really creamy ice cream that just shouts, you know, ICE CREAM. Tofu is just fine, but it can be, um, tofu. And coconut milk is sometimes just too icy for me. This ice cream is where it’s at. So I want to talk a bit about the ingredients I’m using and why I’m using them. (You don’t have to read it if the “why” of things bores you. Just skip ahead and make the best ice cream you’ve ever had.)
We will get to the cashew base in a sec, but first things first: we want to prevent ice crystals. When you take a taste of the ice cream, you want undisturbed lickability without any disruptions, like scraping your tongue along a gravelly piece of ice. (Yes, I said lickability.) So a few of the ingredients are there to prevent that dastardly iciness.
For one: a big dose of pure vanilla extract. The alcohol in it helps to prevent ice from forming. Plus, it tastes pretty darn good.
And maybe you raised your eyebrows at the olive oil. Well the fat does a few things. 1) Prevents ice crystals. 2) Makes the texture creamy and rich. You need fat in ice cream. We’re not making sorbet here! 3) Flavor. Olive oil and pumpkin? That is music to your tastebuds.
Next up: corn syrup! A bit of liquid sugar prevents iciness as well. And organic, non-gmo, beautiful amber corn syrup seems to do the trick best. If you need to replace it with agave or maple syrup, though, so be it!
Now, about those cashews. Well, I use cashews in a lot of things, and it’s because they are as close to a heavy cream as a vegan can get. In this ice cream, I also boil the cashews instead of merely soaking them to soften. I tried it both ways (soaked vs boiled) and noticed that the boiled ones just created a better texture as well as neutralized any cashew flavor. Win win! I mean, cashews are delicious and all, but really, it’s all about the pumpkin here.
And finally, rice milk. Why rice milk? Because it is one of the only commercially available plant-based milks without any thickeners or preservatives. I don’t want any tapioca starch or carageenan in my ice cream. Those ingredients also will affect the outcome of the ice cream. To keep things consistent, rice milk is best. Look for ones that only have a sweetener and a little salt. Those are ingredients we’re adding anyway. On the other hand, if you’re like “to hell with consistency”, you can use any plant based milk you like.
OK OK, there’s a wonderful video here, so why am I even writing all this? It’s time for ice cream.
~To make your own pumpkin pie spice, it’s just 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon allspice.
~I used regular old canned pumpkin puree, but you can really use any sweet winter squash. Try red kuri or butternut or kabocha, they are all delicious and easy to work with. Simply preheat oven to 425 F, hack the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place cut-side-down on a lightly greased cookie sheet, and roast until easily pierced with a fork, usually around 45 minutes. Let cool, scoop the meat into a blender and puree!
~All ice cream makers are not created equal. I love my Breville Smart Scoop, and think it’s as close to a professional ice cream maker as a home cook can get. But read your ice cream maker instructions before using, because you may have to pre-freeze the containers, or some such thing.
1 cup unroasted cashews
1 cup plain rice milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon organic corn syrup
1 tablespoon light molasses
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice [see note]
First, boil the cashews in water for about 30 minutes. Drain them and add to the blender.
Add all remaining ingredients and blend until completely smooth. Blend for about a minute, then test for creaminess. It should take about 3 minutes total to get it as smooth as possible.
Preset your ice cream maker to a hard gelato setting, and pour in ice cream mixture. Once churned, you can eat immediately as a soft serve, but for scoopable results, seal tightly and freeze for about 24 hours.