Finally made ice-cream! Or rather… finally had the opportunity to crave and enjoy it. After a whole day of pure sunshine and bliss (22º degrees) under a blue-bird sky, sweet glorious ice-cream was all I could think about on my way home. The Summer weather lately has got me to dust off sandals and sleeve-less tops that I rarely get to wear in Ireland.
And with tops and sandals come ice-cream and sunglasses, right? I have also grown increasingly curious about “nice-creams” (vegan alternatives for ice-cream). After doing a lot of research, I noticed that there are two main ingredients, or options discovered, to make plant-based ice-cream:
- Frozen bananas
- Full-fat coconut milk
- Soaked cashews + plant-based milk
I decided to go for the first one because between a strong banana or coconut flavour, I’d always go for the first one. However, I’ve also read that for preservation and storage, making ice-cream following a coconut-milk base can be better (texture). I do want to try out making a cashew + milk ice-cream, but the recipe I found called for a chilled ice-cream maker bowl (to properly churn the ice-cream), which I don’t have, and because I also didn’t have the patience to figure out an alternative way of making it, I went for the banana-based ice-cream. I am pretty sure I will try making the cashew version soon though, as my curiousity for it is just too strong to ignore!
A few tips and things to note when making this ice-cream:
- Make sure to freeze ripe bananas; the riper, the creamier.
- To freeze, peel the bananas, break into 4-5 chunks each, put into a freezer/plastic bag and freeze for at least 24h.
- Prepare all extra ingredients before, and leave the blending for last. This will ensure that you eat your ice-cream at the best temperature & consistency possible. If you blend first and then do everything else after, the ice-cream will just melt (not cool).
- If you have trouble blending the bananas, try chopping them into smaller pieces with a knife. If this still doesn’t work and your blender is screeching or is getting hot, just stop. Consider upgrading your blender.
I had this purplish idea of an ice-cream in my mind and I wanted to add a sweet crunch to it, so I went for a blueberry express jam and chocolate chips. But just like with crêpes, there are infinite types of ice-cream that you could make! It’s deliciously overwhelming to even think about it:
- The classics: chocolate (cocoa powder), vanilla (extract), strawberries
- Fruit: blueberries, mango, raspberries, passionfruit, coconut
- Nuts: hazelnut, almond, pistachio, peanut (butter)
- Herbs: mint (+choco), basil, cilantro, thyme, rosemary
- With a twist: spices (chai), sea salt & caramel, Baileys
Whichever you go for, the banana taste will be there, of course, so bear this in mind when deciding for one or other combination of flavours.
Thank you for reading, I hope you try this recipe out and enjoy just as much as we did!
PD. Purple week starts with this recipe!
Recipe: Blueberries & chocolate ice-cream
Total time: 15 mins
Notes: serves 2. You will need a hand blender to blend the bananas and food processor to make the chocolate chips (you could use the latter to blend the banana too).
- 2 cups of frozen banana chunks
- 1/2 cup cooked blueberries
- 20g dark chocolate bark, chopped
- Set a small saucepan to medium heat, add a tbsp of water and let it heat.
- Once hot, add the blueberries and cook until they pop open and acquire a purple colour and jam-like consistency (about 5-10 minutes). Let it cool down in the fridge.
- In the meantime, take out the desired amount of frozen bananas from the freezer, leave in bowl to thaw for 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped chocolate bark in the food processor and process until you obtain small chocolate chips.
- With a hand blender, blend the bananas until super creamy. Add the cooled-down blueberry jam and mix with a spoon. You might need to chop the banana into smaller chunks to blend it more easily.
- Serve in a (cold) bowl, add chocolate topping and maybe basil / mint leaves if you have any – done!