This post is about a delicious vegan, gluten free version of the traditional ice cream of India. It uses coconut milk or coconut milk and almond milk and is flavored with saffron, cardamom and raw cashews. This is very simple recipe that you don’t even need an ice cream maker for. Basically a simple series of steps, heating and combining ingredients then freezing the resulting mix in individual serving molds. Traditionally these would be cone shaped but the author, Richa Hingle, used small rounded bottom bowls. As she suggests you could use popsicle molds or even plastic cups if you wanted a more traditional looking final shape. Actually this would make great vegan ice cream popsicles. If you end up liking it you will see that it could make a great vegan, gluten-free base for all kinds of flavor combinations.
For the recipe details and other delicious looking vegan indian recipes check out..
In case you are interested, kulfi is normally made from condensed milk or whole milk or a combination that is slowly reduced over a low flame until it is about half the original volume. Both of these versions result in a pronounced caramelized taste.
Here is a short about.com video that shows how it’s typically made:
Saffron Vegan Kulfi
Primary Ingredients/Quantity: coconut milk, saffron / 1 quart Mix Prep Time:20 min Freeze Time:20 min Total Time:40 min Yield:1 quart (8 servings)
This delicious vegan ice cream is a version of chai tea using coconut milk in place of cream. All the heady Indian spices you would expect are here: ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and allspice. As noted towards the end of the post you need to replace the honey with agave, maple or other vegetarian syrup for the recipe to be vegan. For non-vegans the two cans of coconut creme could be replaces by 2 cups of cream and 1 of whole milk.
Kate of Cookie+Kate uses a little arrowroot starch as an ice crystal tamer, I used tapioca starch because that’s what I had on hand, and you can also use corn starch in the same qty. The arrowroot is a nice touch, I haven’t seen that before and Kate reports that this ice cream scoops nicely straight from the freezer and since it makes close to a quart and half of ice cream, this is no small thing. You can always make a half recipe of course.
This pear sorbet recipe caught my attention for its clever sophistication. Rebecca Franklin, who writes a french food blog on About.com, adds two additional ingredients, that cause it to stand apart. First she adds a small amount of ground cardamom, which readers of this blog know is kind of a spice of the moment for me. Here it adds a bit of complimentary dazzle to the pear flavor.
Then she adds eau-de-vie de poire which I think is the perfect finishing touch. Pear brandy reinforces the inherent pear flavor of the dessert, which is of course the point of making it. It is easy to forget that cold dampens our perception of taste and little tricks like this can help assure the intensity of flavor we are imagining, when we set out to make frozen desserts.
The alcohol in the brandy adds a satisfying note of complexity to the sorbetto, and has the very desirable property of not freezing. This helps prevent your otherwise sophisticated, adult dessert from turning into a very big Popsicle.
Last but not least, both the cardamom and the pear brandy expand the sorbet’s bouquet pleasing your nose as well as your taste buds.
Like all sorbets this is a simple and foolproof recipe. Unlike many, it exhibits a real mastery of flavor design, which with a tiny bit of effort, you can be the beneficiary of.
This is an easy as can be recipe, that makes one pint of silky smooth, sweet, homemade vanilla ice cream without eggs. Just combine the ingredients in a blender and freeze in your ice cream maker. On the other hand I suspect (note suspect, I haven’t actually tried this yet), that an ice cream maker might not even be required. Just mix everything together, store in your freezer, stir once an hour for the first few hours, and in 4 hours or so you will have ice cream. In that scenario you might need to use heavy cream rather than half and half, but this remains to be seen. Another no ice cream maker required method, especially if you dont want to wait hours, would be to make it using the Ziploc bag method described here.
1 cup half and half (or heavy cream, or milk and heavy cream as you desire.)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom seeds
Grind the cardamom seeds in spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Freshly ground cardamom explodes with flavor!
Add half and half and cardamom to the blender.
Open condensed milk can with a can opener and pour into a blender. It is much easier to use a spatula and scoop out the whole can with the entire top removed.
Blend the mix until smooth, about 30 seconds.
If you have a built-in freezer/compressor ice cream maker add the mix to it and freeze. This should take about 15 - 20 minutes.
If you have a freezer canister model. Pre-chill using one of these methods.
Eat and/or store in a freezer proof container in your freezer. This ice cream stores quite well, getting a little harder in texture but still remaining soft and easy to scoop.
Because it is so sweet, a scoop of this ice cream goes amazingly well with anything based on dark chocolate. For example, it is a perfect side to a slice of flour-less chocolate cake.
Notes and Variations
I should sub-title this recipe the simplest ice cream base in the world because really that is what it is. You can see how easy the basic foundation of half condensed milk and half cream/milk is to experiment with. Depending on the strength of the flavors you want to add, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of any spice could be used in place of the cardamom. Up to 1/4 cup of a fruit puree or chocolate or caramel syrup are other possibilities. Keep in mind that even without added sugar this is a very sweet ice cream, so flavors that balance that are the way to go. Melting a 1/2 once of bittersweet chocolate in half of the half and half before combining is good example.
A recent version of this ice cream that worked out well, used these ingredient quantities. It has a nice texture, is just sweet enough for me and freezes fairly well.
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
2 cups of heavy cream
2 cups of whole milk
1 Tablespoon of cornstarch
1 vanilla bean
1 Tablespoon freshly ground cardamom
In this variation I cooked the base by bringing the heavy cream, milk vanilla bean and cardamom to boil for 4 minutes.
Took the pot off the burner for a moment while I stirred in the cornstarch which had been earlier dissolved into 1/4 cup of the milk.
Then I Cooked the mix for around a minute until it thickened from the corn starch.
Then I added it directly to my compressor ice cream maker to churn.
If you are using a freezer canister ice cream maker you need to chill the mix first.
Cardamom has been one of my favorite spices lately and I have been trying it in all kinds of foods. I decided it would be fun to use it as a strong second flavor in a chocolate ice cream. Then I remembered a fantastic chocolate chip cookie I ate at a little coffee shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn last year. It not only contained cardamom but also some chili pepper which gave it some heat The combination worked beautifully.
My recipe is based on Jeni Bauer’s Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World. In addition to freshly ground cardamom seed, I added ground chipotle pepper which adds a smoky heat to the flavor. The major change to the recipe, besides the additional spices, is that I don’t add any sugar to the chocolate syrup, so in my version it is more of a ganache. Also the original recipe has a full cup of sugar in it, mine only a half cup.
Pour the mix into your ice cream maker. It is easiest to cut off a corner of the bag and pour it from there rather than through the top.
Freeze as per manufacturers instructions.
Harden the Ice Cream
Scoop ice cream into the pre-chilled storage container/s.
Press down a piece of cling film over the ice cream to remove any air (optional).
Seal and store in your freezer for at least a few hours before serving.
Notes and Variations
I am pleased to report that my girlfriend and primary customer, was blown away by this ice cream when made as recorded in the recipe. Never one to leave well enough alone however, these are some of things I will probably experiment with next time.
I think I will try cutting back the spice amounts to 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. I would like to get the slight burn left by the pepper in the finish down a little. Also though I like the very strong cardamom flavor, but I’m curious about what will happen with the balance tipped more towards the chocolate and coffee.
I’m tempted to add some finely grated chocolate, maybe 1/4 cup, into the mix towards the end of churning.
I purposely did not strain out the crushed cardamom seeds before chilling because I wanted that occasional blast of spice. You may not want this.
Using 1/2 cup of sugar rather than the called for 1 cup did not noticeably hurt the texture of the ice cream and resulted in just the right amount of sweetness to my taste.
Now that I have made this a few times, here are some more notes.
As I am currently making it, this is a drastically dense, dark chocolate ice cream. It is more an Ice Fudge than an Ice Cream.
I have cut the spices back to what I suggested above 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black cardamom seeds and 1/8 teaspoon of ground chipotle pepper. Additionally I am using (from Whole Foods) Organic Valley cream cheese, milk and heavy cream, and Dagoba unsweetened chocolate for baking. Cocoa powder is Penzey’s Spices Natural High Fat Cocoa.
Now for the bad part. As I have currently laid out the steps, this is without a doubt the messiest ice cream recipe I have yet to make. Your kitchen will look like a chocolate bomb went off in it. The chocolate sauce is very, very thick and combining it with the dairy mix is not pretty. The resulting combined mix is like a very thick pudding that does not want to go into or come out the pre-chilling Ziploc bag willingly. Lastly it since it is so rich in fats, clean up takes lots of soap and water.
I am going to try a few things differently next time. First I’m not going to make a separate chocolate sauce. After cooking and thickening the dairy/cornstarch mix I am going to add the chocolate sauce ingredients directly to it, one at a time and gradually incorporate them over a very low heat. I will add the cream cheese, then the baking chocolate, then the cocoa.
I think Im going to either add more milk or use 2%. Not that the current fudginess isnt interesting or tasty, but it is a bit to much of a good thing. If you want to serve something that is sure to get a reaction from your friends, make it as is.
For this one recipe I am not going to use a Ziploc bag for prechilling. Either I will put the pot right into the Ice bath directly or use flat rectangular Pyrex dish, not sure yet. I think given how much heat this thick mix retains it is important to pre-chill it. On the other hand there is so much fat in it, maybe it isn’t needed at all. With a compressor ice cream maker it might make the most sense to just let it cool down on off the stove for 10 minutes and then go right into your machine.