If you don’t want to spend a small fortune on ready-made raw vegan ice cream, you can easily make your own. I use soaked cashew nut pieces for this recipe rather than whole cashew nuts as it makes the whole recipe so much cheaper. I like to soak the cashew nuts for at least four hours and rinse them well under cold running water. This helps to neutralise the flavour of the gelato and stops it tasting of cashew nuts.
Using almond milk will give you a creamer gelato but you could also use hazelnut milk for more of a praline type flavour. You can also throw on some chopped hazelnuts as a topping. I’m using the word gelato here rather than ice cream as technically, gelato is a denser type of ice cream and the use of the cashew nuts in this recipe gives a much denser and delicious result than dairy ice cream and a result more like an Italian gelato.
If you sift your cacao powder before you add it to your blender, it will reduce the probability of there being lumps in it as it blends.
This chocolate version is a favourite of the people who come on my training courses. This is the gelato that I also demonstrated at VegFest in London Olympia a month or so ago.
At work, I have a Paco Jet which is restaurant system whipping machine which produces the most creamer and delightful raw plant based ice creams ever. Sometimes I have to prize participants off the machine as they can been found wondering how much ice cream they could possibly consume before they have to go home. However, it isn’t the cheapest of machines and unless you have a restaurant or deep pockets, you probably wouldn’t have one in your kitchen. I have found the Buffalo ice cream maker to be perfectly serviceable and also freezes delicious ice cream from scratch in around 30 minutes.
We make a mint ice cream with raw chocolate chips amongst lots of other delicious things on the Nourish weekend intensive and we serve it with a chocolate ganache tart and raspberry coulis. It’s great to know that even all through Christmas and well into the New Year, with all those fresh resolutions, you can still enjoy a guilt free iced gelato.
When storing your gelato or ice cream, be sure to top it with greaseproof paper or cling film which will reduce the ice crystals from forming.
For extra indulgence, you can serve this with the quick and easy chocolate sauce.
1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup water or almond milk
1 ½ tsp vanilla
¼ cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup cacao powder or good quality cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
In a high speed blender, whizz all of the ingredients except the coconut oil and cacao powder until smooth. You are aiming to create a smooth batter, almost like a pancake batter, without any lumps.
Then add the coconut oil and blend again.
Finally add the cacao powder and blend again until it is super smooth.
Then follow one of the methods below depending on whether you have an ice cream maker or not.
Choose the correct container for freezing your gelato. This is really important. You need a container with a high surface-area-to-volume ratio which will expose the gelato to the freezing air. Make sure it is freezer safe.
Pour your gelato mixture into the tub and put it in the coldest part of the freezer for two hours or until it is firm at the edges. Then, remove it from the freezer and whisk the gelato with a hand whisk. This breaks down any ice crystals that may have been formed. Return to the freezer-safe container for another two hours and lay cling film over the top.
After the two hours is up, remove the ice cream from the freezer and whisk again. Lay cling film over the top.
Wait another two hours and whisk again.
Return to the freezer until frozen with the cling film. Depending on your freezer, this could take up to 12 hours or overnight.
Remove from the freezer about 20 minutes before serving for an easy and delicious soft scoop.
Ice Cream Maker Method
If you have an ice cream maker: freeze the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions.