Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Maple Your Blueberry Ice Cream

I've not stopped thinking about the ice cream we had in Vermont last week. The day was sweltering and our hostess decided we just must have a very specific ice cream from a small shop in Waterbury. Being in the land of all that is Ben and Jerry, I wasn't sure how this little walk up window was going to compare.  One sample of their homemade maple blueberry and I was a convert. The quality was superb. Being in the state known for having more cows than people, you are all but guaranteed the freshest of fresh dairy products.  I've sampled blueberry ice creams and gelatos far and wide and, try as I might,  never ever been a fan of them.  The blueberry is never blueberry enough for me.  In this version, I believe it was the maple syrup that really played nicely with the blueberries. There is something to be said for things that grow together go together, like Italy's tomato and basil. Ok, fine I know maple is harvested in early spring and blueberries aren't ready until late summer, but both are popular northern New England delights so you get the idea. 

Suffice it to say I was hoping to recreate this flavor at home in a raw ice cream....the bane of my culinary existence. Try as I might, I have yet to make a really delicious raw ice cream. It's always too nutty, too coconut-ty, not the right texture, the vanilla doesn't stand up, too firm the next day, and what-not. I've EATEN  really good raw ice creams, so I know they are possible, I just haven't created one yet. 

I'd been meaning to try using irish moss as my ice cream thickener and had one recipe given to me. So tonight I tried it and it worked perfectly.  

Here is the original recipe as it was given to me:

Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream 
Recipe by 
Elaina Love 

2 cups almonds 
3 cups water 
½ cup coconut oil 
¼ packed cup Irish moss by weight after soaking 3-8 hours and rinsing well 
1 cup agave nectar 
¼ tsp. vanilla powder ( or 1 vanilla bean) 
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt crystals 

1. Blend the almonds with water to make a thick almond cream. Strain the mixture through The Amazing Nut Milk Bag and store the pulp for another recipe. 
2. Blend 1 cup of the almond milk with the Irish Moss until very smooth. 
3. Add the remainder of ingredients and blend until smooth. 
4. Pour into a freezable container and let freeze overnight. 
5. Let thaw about 15 minutes before serving.

My changes were:
I used 1/2-2/3 cup of maple syrup instead of agave, about 1 TBSP of vanilla water instead of the vanilla listed, and a bag (~10-12 oz) of frozen wild Maine Blueberries.  Then I froze in an ice cream maker instead of overnight....because we needed dessert promptly.

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