The Art of the Frozen Dessert
A few of our favorite commercial vegan ice creams:
So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Creams
Larry and Luna’s Coconut Bliss
Living Harvest Tempt Non-Dairy Ice Cream
Good Karma Foods Organic Rice Divine Ice Cream
Some of our favorite sorbets:
Sharon ’s Sorbet
The best thing about summer is vegan ice cream (OK: maybe sunshine and warmth are the best things, technically). And if you find it unimaginable that the words vegan and ice cream and amazing can exist in the same sentence, you might be living under a vegan rock. Practically every grocery store in North America sells vegan frozen desserts that give their oppressive dairy counterparts not just a run for the money; they often leave them in the dust. Especially when said vegan ice creams are coconut milk based. But I digress.
I love sorbet, too — but these are much better when made from scratch. Most of the ones available at the grocery store are diabetic-comas-in-wait; they’re super sugary, and often lacking in any discernible fruit flavor (a few brands are exceptions to this). Homemade sorbet can be subtly sweet and bursting with fruity lusciousness — a real treat.
If you don’t own an ice cream maker, and remember them being a lot of work and/or expensive, you will be surprised to learn that neither is true any longer. One of the most highly rated ice cream makers — I can attest to its awesomeness — is made by Cuisinart and only costs $50. It’s a basic model, but it produces sensational ice cream and sorbet. Ice cream makers can go all the way up to a few hundred dollars, and many of them are great, too. But the budget-minded should rest assured that the less expensive models often work great. (Check out Consumer Reports and/or Amazon.com for ratings!)
Two of the following recipes are from Friends of Animals’ Best of Vegan Cooking. There are more ice cream and sorbet recipes in the cookbook, and it’s available for purchase on our website at www.friendsofanimals.org
Peach Ice Cream (from The Best of Vegan Cooking)
Makes 4 cups
What on earth is better than fresh peaches? Fresh peaches in homemade ice cream! OUT OF THIS WORLD.
2 cups fresh peaches, peeled
½ peach, peeled and cut, held in reserve
6 ounces silken tofu, drained
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup agave or ¾ cup sugar syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest
If using sugar syrup instead of agave, combine ¾ cup Florida Crystals sugar with ¾ cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Set aside and cool to room temperature or refrigerate.
Pur é e peeled peaches and tofu in blender until smooth. Add coconut milk, agave nectar, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Pur é e until smooth.
Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
During last 5 minutes of processing in ice cream maker, quickly peel and chop ½ peach and add to ice cream maker while paddles are still going. Serve or transfer to container to freeze.
Watermelon Sorbet (from The Best of Vegan Cooking)
Makes about 4 cups
Often, store bought sorbet tastes more like sugar than the ingredient for which it is inspired: fresh fruit. But not this one!
The vodka is what gives this sorbet an amazingly smooth, silky texture. It’s shocking what a small amount of vodka can do for a sorbet.
1 cup sugar syrup (recipe follows)
4 cups seeded, chopped watermelon
¼ cup lime juice
½ teaspoon grated lime zest
1-2 tablespoons vodka
To make 1 cup sugar syrup, combine 1 cup Florida Crystals sugar with 1 cup water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Set aside and cool to room temperature or refrigerate.
Pur é e the watermelon, sugar syrup, lime juice, zest and vodka in a blender until smooth.
Cover and refrigerate until cool; then churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Magical Instant Sorbet
This recipe was adapted from a Minimalist column recipe by Mark Bittman from The New York Times. It’s one of my very favorite summer desserts. It doesn’t require an ice cream maker, time or much effort — and it’s mouth-watering good.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can’t mess it up. But the water must be added slowly in order to produce a sorbet-like consistency — else you’ll end up with a slushee (but slushees are great, too!).
Alas, you can make this with any frozen fruit, but my own “scientific” study has determined that cherries are best. But I encourage adventurousness.
1 12-14 oz. bag frozen cherries
1 6 oz. container coconut (or soy) yogurt, plain (though any fruit flavor will also work)
2 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
1 cup cold water
Place frozen cherries, yogurt and sugar in a food processor. Process.
While processor is on, pour cold water in small increments of the cold water into top — just until it all blends together.
Scoop into serving bowls and serve immediately.