Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vegan Peach Ice Cream with Caramelized Almonds

What the heck is going on?
Another vegan, gluten free, egg free, dairy free recipe?
I'll admit I'm probably the last person on the planet who thought I would be making vegan dishes. I love milk, eggs, meat, all those things that vegans avoid. That being said, the thought of making ice cream without actually using cream intrigued me. What would the texture be like? What would the taste be like? Would I be able to tell instantly that it wasn't "ice cream"?

I decided to try and find a recipe on line for vegan peach ice cream to make. I couldn't really find any that didn't involve using some kind of nut-paste or ingredients that I had never heard of before and didn't want to invest in. I decided to invent my own. All things considered, I think I did pretty good.
Did I learn some things to try for next time?
Will I try again?
I could not tell this was not a "true" ice cream. It was smooth and creamy just like any other ice cream I have made. It did freeze a little hard for my liking. I had to let it sit out for about 20 minutes to be able to scoop it, but other than that I found it pretty tasty.
The peach flavor is very mild so you don't want to add too many of the caramelized almonds or they take over the whole dish. In fact, if you wanted to just leave out the almonds you could do that too.
Personally, I love caramelized almonds so didn't mind them influencing the flavor of the ice cream.

Vegan Peach Ice Cream with Caramelized Almonds

5 medium peaches, skins on*, pitted
1 can (400 ml / 13.5 oz) Coconut Cream
1 cup non-dairy creamer (I used Silk)
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch salt
1/4 cup slivered almonds
5 Tbsp white sugar

Using food processor, process peaches until pureed.
In bowl of stand mixer, pour in pureed peaches. Add coconut cream, non-dairy creamer, brown sugar, and salt. Beat until sugar is dissolved. (About 3 - 4 minutes)
Place in ice cream machine and process according to manufacturer's directions.
While ice cream is in machine, prepare almonds.
First, have a cookie sheet greased well with cooking spray ready. Place almonds and 5 tbsp sugar in medium frying pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often so sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar starts to brown it only takes a minute or two so watch carefully. When you have a nice caramel color remove from heat and pour onto greased cookie sheet, spreading as much as possible.
Be careful! This will be extremely hot!

Caramelized almonds, broken into tiny pieces

Place in the fridge for about 5 - 10 minutes to cool completely. Break into tiny pieces using your fingers.
When ice cream is almost completely frozen, stir in pieces of caramelized almonds. (Use as much or as little as you like. Keep in mind they do influence the flavor of the ice cream.)

*NOTE - Whether you leave the skins on or remove them is up to you. I like the little flecks of color they leave in the ice cream. I ended up removing about half of the skins from the cream before freezing it so there were not too many bits floating around.

So, what did I learn to try differently for next time?
I learned that if you chill the mixture before you place it into the ice cream maker that it can help prevent ice crystals from forming in your ice cream therefore helping to prevent a grainy texture.
I learned that adding a Tbsp of alcohol can help to prevent your ice cream from freezing really hard. I was thinking a Tbsp of Peach Schnapps might help make the peach flavor more bold and prevent the hard freeze.
I learned that the word "vegan" doesn't have to be scary. The thought of drinking a glass of Silk still makes me a little nauseas, I can't lie, but the thought of enjoying Silk in ice cream is now very pleasant.
I can say that making a vegan, gluten free, dairy free, egg free recipe isn't as "weird" as I once thought. Don't get me wrong - I'm not giving up my flour, milk, eggs, meat, chocolate, etc.. But I am a little more willing to try something different.
Little changes make the biggest differences :)

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