It’s not that easy making a non-dairy ice-cream that is creamy, luscious on the palate and passes the all-important ’lick’ test. The ice-cream I make tends to be more icey, that’s because I usually make frozen fruit varieties with blueberries and strawberries. This has worked well so far, but I really need to step it up, given my investment in an ice cream maker – and my allergic son’s interest in the gelato that he sees in the shops he passes by, and sadly can’t have.
I once tried a commercial variety, strawberry sorbet, which claimed to be dairy free, egg free, nut free, with disastrous results. We tried a teaspoon, then waited and tried another teaspoon, my son start to gag, then he tried to throw up, he began to look pale, and coughed, it was terrible. We treated him with anti-histamine and the local Doctor gave him an injection, he developed hives. Learning 1: next time use the epi-pen and call an ambulance. We contacted the Health Department and they took a sample of the ice-cream to see if there was a contaminate, and there was: 26 parts of dairy in a million, enough to trigger anaphylaxis in my son. The company (which I have since learned) did not clean their machinery sufficiently, between their dairy and non dairy lines, and have now since withdrawn the product; the company is owned by a Doctor and they were apparently upset that their product had caused the reaction. Learning 2: Beware of the ingredients of all products and it is best to trial new foods slowly, no matter what the ingredients show on the product, especially before going for a full bowl (don’t want to even think of what would have happened).
Over 18 months have passed since this last incident, so more recently I found a soy ice-cream, that is imported from the U.S.A. The ingredients list had all the things that I looked for dairy free, egg free, looking good. I bought it, took it home and let it sit in the freezer for a couple of weeks until I picked up the courage to try it on my son. Something in me, motivated me to do a final check – a search on the internet, ”soy ice-cream, company’s name + allergic reactions”, and up popped a story from a Mum in the U.S.A., her child had a reaction and it was related to traces of nuts in a product made by the same company. What I have discovered in my research, is that most non-dairy ice-cream products are made in factories that also process nuts and sometimes dairy, so there could be contamination. I am guessing that companies have large product lines, or share facilities – due to the cost of machinery, so please double-check and cross-reference your information, the internet is a great tool for this. Needless to say that the soy ice-cream that was purchased was put in the rubbish bin; it is a waste but I am just not ready to take the risk.
So back to ice-cream making! I found a fabulous blog called A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise , do I need to say anything more! This blog has great recipes and I have ventured into trying the Strawberry Ice Cream.
One secret ingredient in non-dairy ice cream making is soy or rice creams, this is a fat added and thickened non-dairy liquid which helps give the luscious, creamy texture in the ice cream; soy milk is fat-free, that is why it goes ‘icey’ when you freeze it, it needs fat to give it a creamy texture. Before you panic about fat, most dairy ice creams have regular milk, plus full-fat cream added, and anyways your not having it every day – right?
I didn’t have any soy cream or soy creamer in my pantry so I made my own, it was pretty easy, again I found a great blog which has the recipe. Soy creamer is a combination of soy, vegetable oil and a thickener. I changed the recipe and swapped the canola oil for a light olive oil and added a 1/4 teaspoon of xanthum gum. Next time I might swap out the vanilla extract and try infusing a vanilla bean in the mixture. I doubled the recipe for the soy creamer and pretty much used it as the base for the ice cream.
I am pleased to say that the results were good for a first effort, needless to say it was impossible to ‘style’ the freshly churned ice cream for a photograph, before my son started attacking it with a spoon, then licked the small plate clean (I did try to stop him)!
So here’s my take on the ice-cream recipe from A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise and soy creamer from The Year of the Vegan; a big thank you to both of these wonderful cooks, who have helped me provide safe, creamy, ice-cream for my son.
Before you start, remember to put your ice-cream (maker) bowl, in the freezer for at least a few days before you intend to use it.
- 1/2 cup plain soy milk
- 1/2 cup of light extra virgin olive oil
Place above ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth, then add:
- 1 & 1/2 cups of soy milk
Blend on high until smooth and uniform.
This should make around 2 & 1/2 cups of soy creamer.
Note: If you just want to make the soy creamer you will need to incorporate sweetness and vanilla extract in your blending stage. Around 2 tablespoons of agave nectar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. This mixture will keep in an airtight container for approximately 3-5 days in the fridge.
Soy Strawberry Ice Cream
- 2 & 1/2 cups of soy creamer
- 2 cups of washed and hulled strawberries
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup of organic sugar
- 2 tablespoons of arrowroot
- 1/2 cup of soy milk
- 1/4 teaspoon of xanthum gum
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise (or you can use 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract)
- In addition to your 2 & 1/2 cups of soy creamer already in the blender add:
- 1 cup of hulled strawberries
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup of organic sugar (whatever you prefer for sweetness)
- blend until smooth.
- In a separate bowl add the 1/2 cup of soy milk and whisk in the arrowroot and xanthum gum, make sure the mix has no lumps, set aside.
- Place the contents of the blender into a saucepan and add the vanilla bean, bring to the boil and remove from heat, remove the vanilla bean (scrape out the insides and add to the mix), quickly whisk in the soy/arrowroot and xanthum gum mixture, the mix should start to thicken slightly, and will thicken further when cooled. Note: If you choose not to use a vanilla bean, just add the vanilla extract once the mixture has been removed from the heat.
Place entire mixture in an air tight container and cool in the fridge, I allowed mine to cool overnight.
To make the ice-cream:
This will depend on your ice-cream machine’s instructions: spoon in the mixture and churn, before placing into freezer or serving, mix through the remaining cup of chopped strawberries and enjoy!