Plant-based ice cream, like so much else in the vegan world, has made leaps and bounds in both variety and quality in recent years. as the market has grown, but many commercial varieties still replace dairy and eggs with a long list of perfectly harmless, but even less attractive ingredients, like fully refined soybean oil. Without stabilizers, homemade ones might not last as well in the freezer, but frankly, they don’t need to – they’re unlikely to stay there for long.
This recipe makes a virtue of the coconut flavor, as well as its natural creaminess, although you can also use it as a base for other ingredients, doubling in fruit puree or chocolate chips after whipping, say, or adding cocoa powder or extract. mint to the base itself. Richer than a sorbet, lighter and cleaner than standard ice cream, it’s not really just for vegans.
Or, rather, non-dairy dairy products – all the recipes I try are plant-based, though Morfudd Richards, former ice cream vendor, current owner of Greenberry Cafe on Primrose Hill in North London, and author of Lola’s ice cream and ice cream. She provides a sorbet with sugar syrup instead of dairy as a base. If you’re looking for a really light painkiller this is the way to go, but I’m aiming for something richer and creamier here.
Vegan Bible by Marie Laforet combines coconut milk with soy milk and cream, Hannah Kaminsky simply specifies non-dairy milk, for which I use the refrigerated coconut milk sold with the cow variety, while Max Falkowitz takes equal parts coconut milk and cream. As he writes in Serious Eats, “Most vegan ice creams are not very good for a number of reasons. Any putz can cook dairy and eggs together and make something reasonably good. But vegan ice cream requires more technical and ingredient knowledge … The result? Watery, thin and often tasteless ice cream. No, thanks.” Devastating.
In short, standard ice cream is made with delicious, high-fat ingredients like cream and egg yolks. Canned coconut milk is only 11% fat, and bottled things a tenth of that, so on its own, it will never give the rich mouthfeel of the things it is replacing. One solution is as Kaminsky suggests, to thicken the mixture with cornmeal, which gives it a plump, slightly chewy consistency that’s a hit with my testers, but I think it’s more like frozen white delicacy than custard (unsurprisingly, once you learn from their book Vegan Desserts that “this recipe was actually the result of a happy accident. Originally intended to become a cake filling, I hadn’t really taken into account how much the cake batter would hold and was initially annoyed to find that it wouldn’t all fit in. Make a few more small tweaks to it. rest and then whisk it into ice cream ”).
If you want a more traditional texture, you will need more fat (see, I said this recipe was vegan; I didn’t say it was healthy). Falkowitz’s version is good, but even better is the one I came across an average user, a vegan permaculturalist named Violet Bee, who, after moving to a very rural farm, was frustrated by other people’s recipes for plant-based coconut ice cream, which she said always turned out to be lumpy or grainy. After much experimentation, he discovered powdered coconut milk, “which (very unscientifically) appears to bind the milk together and prevent the fat from separating during cooling.”
The powder I find in the Caribbean section of my local stores is 60% fat, as opposed to the 20% carton of coconut cream I use for Falkowitz ice cream. Unsurprisingly, this means that Bee’s is smoother and richer, which may also have something to do with the fact that powdered milk is hydroscopic, meaning it absorbs water, leaving less to turn to ice during the freezing process. (Note that you don’t need much, and unlike coconut cream, it keeps for months once opened. In fact, to reduce the environmental footprint of this recipe, make coconut milk powder as well, according to package instructions..)
Ice cream needs sugar to give it texture and flavor; you can use solid products, but an inverted syrup is preferable (i.e. one in which sucrose has been broken down into its two component sugars, glucose and fructose, leaving it unable to form crystals), because this will give your ice cream a smoother, creamier consistency. Falkowitz uses corn syrup, which, he says, “adds extra plush body to the base.” It is not commonly found on shelves in this country, although you can buy it online (note that it is not the same as high fructose corn syrup, which sounds the alarm bells for dietitians). Bee and Laforet go for agave nectar, Richards adds a tablespoon of glucose syrup (both are usually stocked in larger stores), and Kaminsky sticks with granulated sugar.
Some kind of reverse syrup seems like a good idea, texture-wise, but agave, glucose, and corn syrup lack character, so I’m going to use golden syrup instead, in combination with regular white sugar.
A little bit of alcohol, either in the form of alcohol or vanilla extract, which tends to be alcohol-based, is common in many frozen desserts; Falkovitz embraces both. As David Lebovitz explains in his book The Perfect Scoop, alcohol “prevents ice cream and sorbets from freezing too much (alcohol does not freeze) and … adds flavor.” You can omit it, if you like, but it makes the finished product easier to pick up, as well as adding more complexity; for me coconut demands rum, but feel free to use whatever liquor you have lying around.
Kaminsky adds lime zest and juice, which are very popular with my testers, and Richards infuses its base with makrut lime leaves, which give it a subtle Southeast Asian note, but just about anything you can think of that goes with the coconut. it’s a posibility. However, I would steer clear of the solid chunks of coconut – Kaminsky and Laforet add it flaked and dried respectively, and both are very chewy once frozen. Inspired by Martha de Lacey from Muff DiningI’ve infused the milk with toasted coconut instead, but you can skip this step if you’re using it as a base for other flavors.
Pastry Chef Dana Cree explains to Serious Eats that “coconut fat does not homogenize like milk fat. Sometimes it melts in the machine and feels grainy. ” To avoid this, be sure to disperse any solid lumps of fat in your mix before freezing it; Bee acknowledges that “the key to extra creaminess … is to mix [the mixture] like you’re trying to froth it, “while Falkovitz believes that” simmering and pureeing the ice cream base emulsifies coconut fats that might otherwise separate and become grainy when whipped. ” I’m going to take a belt and brace approach and heat up and mix the mixture, just in case.
I have not tried this recipe without a refrigerator; you can try using the still freezing method, but I suspect the results will be quite crunchy. It will be at its best in the first few days after manufacturing, but I can confirm that it is not much better than straight from the machine.
* put the cooled mixture in a wide container, freeze for 60 minutes, then beat with electric beaters or a fork and freeze again. Repeat twice at 60-90 minute intervals, then freeze for another hour, until quite firm.
Perfect vegan coconut ice cream
Homework 5 minutes
Infuse 2 hours +
Cool 2 hours + freezing time
50g coconut flakes
2 cans of 400 ml coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut milk powder
30 g golden syrup
90 g of white sugar
Salt, try out
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of rum
Toast the coconut flakes in a dry skillet until golden brown, stirring and shaking regularly so they don’t burn. Pour into a bowl, add the coconut milk and let it steep for a few hours.
Put the powdered milk in a medium saucepan, then strain the coconut milk into the saucepan, stirring as you go; discard the flakes.
Add the syrup, sugar and a pinch of salt to the pan and heat over low heat.
Beat the mixture with an immersion or jug blender for two minutes, then add the vanilla and rum and cool. Chill for several hours until nice and cold.
Beat again for 30 seconds, beat in an ice cream maker, then serve or put in the freezer to further harden.
Is coconut the key to great vegan ice cream? If so, how do you make yours? And if not, what is the secret?
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism