Monday, January 14, 2008

Goodbye Mondo Gelato, I don't need you anymore!

My freezer is usually full of chilis, curry paste, and veggie stock, but sadly devoid of ice cream. The non-dairy substitutes out there just aren't that great – not good enough to be a staple in my freezer anyway. I used to occasionally buy the amaretto flavour of Tofulatti, but that was before I tried the soy gelato at Mondo and discovered that non-dairy ice cream can actually be soft, fluffy, creamy, mmmmm. And this weekend I made an even better discovery (with a little help from my grandma and Cusinart): I can make soy icecream like that. At home. Whenever I want it. Can you believe that?

Along with the magic machine (a Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker) Granny Barb gave me a beautiful ice cream cookbook. Over the holidays I tried out the blackberry sorbet recipe. We had it for dessert after the potato leek soup, which was actually kind of perfect because the sorbet was also one of those let natural ingredients work their delicious natural magic things. Made with blackberries mom and Tess picked in the summer, it was intense, rich and fresh tasting at the same time. So, sorbet is easy to make. But soy ice cream I figured I'd have to experiment with a bit.

I'm not usually one to test a recipe before I serve it to others (sorry guys, but that would be boring). But for ice cream, I decided to pretend to be one of those cooks, just this once. I looked up tons of non-dairy ice cream recipes online, to compare methods and ingredients until I made some sense of it. I finally settled on a recipe from a blog devoted completely to vegan ice cream recipes (cool!). I made some adjustments, because I really wanted to try using coconut cream for extra flavour (I used it in place of the soy cream the recipe called for) and I didn't have any gelatin or agar agar on hand (I omitted it an and nothing horrible happened). As the ice cream was churning, I stuck a spoon in and was shocked – it was so good, perfect creamy texture, rich chocolatey flavour. Even better than Mondo, and on my first try! Just imagine what great things are to come...

Blackberry chocolate coconut non-dairy icecream
[adapted from A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise]

1½ cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)
2 cups coconut cream
1 cup almond milk (or soy milk)
¾ cup sugar (raw cane sugar gives the best texture)
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup chocolate chips
1 tbsp vanilla

Combine blackberries and 1 cup coconut cream in blender. Puree. Strain this liquid through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the blackberry seeds.

Pour the blackberry-coconut liquid into a sauce pan and add the remaining coconut cream, almond milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips.

Heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate chips melt. Then bring the mixture to a boil. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and add the vanilla.

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool in an ice bath (place 3 cups of ice cubes with water to cover in a bowl, then place the ice cream base in a smaller bowl inside this). Once mixture is cool, refrigerate for 4 hours. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.


Laura said...

Unbelievable! What a fantastic gift and what a fantastic discovery! Good researching, Meg. Sounds delicious. Coconut cream. Mm. I also like how it's brought together elements from your whole family too - your Granny Barb, your mom and sister, you and Darryl.

So does that mean no more Mondo? You have to mention the bizarre flavours they were offering non-dairy eaters. Ooh, I can't remember any, so I'm going to make up ones on the scale of disgustingness they had, like gruel and castor oil and vegemite. Okay...maybe vegemite wouldn't be so bad...!

Meg said...

Hee hee - it was bran! yuck. And A, C, E vitamins. Like I want an icecream flavour based on vitamins! Oh yeah, and they had vanilla bran too. Bran and vanilla bran, yay. Thankfully they eventually brought back the tasty ones – cappuccino, hazelnut, coconut, and chocolate-vanilla. So, I might still stop by there occasionally, but now it will only be if I'm lazy...

Leeeeesha said...

Meg, you 've officially impressed me. First, you introduce me to the wonderful world of Mondo's soy gelato (the good flavours of course, not bran and/or vitamin), and now you come up with THIS!

I never thought there would be a non-dairy ice cream out there for me, but thankfully, I was mistaken. Your chocolate, berry, and coconut cream (with chopped hazelnuts on top) ice cream was amazIng tonight!!! I can't wait to try tons of new flavours!