It is berry season here in Australia, and that means berries seeping into just about everything I create- of course, this Blueberry and vanilla bean ice-cream is the perfect summer dessert, using the seasons best produce and turning it into a creamy, satisfying dessert.
Read on, as I have included various steps the cater to just about everyones kitchen. The original recipe is indeed churned in my ice-cream maker, but I have included options that are no-churn and the always-popular popsicle variety.
Our local blueberry farms are open for business, and I find picking fresh, organic berries to be one of best ways to spend a day with the kids on the weekend. Of course we eat our weight in berries, but also buying in bulk (where we bring our own containers) means we can buy fresh berries waste free (!!), and the little ones get to experience where food actually comes from. We have our own little patch of blueberry bushes, too, but it will be a few years before we harvest enough berries to have extras to freeze, and use later in the year. But, I digress.
What ingredients do you need to make the ice-cream
While good-quality berries are a staple of the this recipe, there are two more ingredients the deserve special mention. I am working with Queen Fine Foods on this recipe, and have used 2 of their premium ingredients; pure Canadian maple syrup and Celebrating 120 Years Master Blend Vanilla extract.
Pure Canadan maple syrup
Queen Fine Foods supplies Grade A pure Canadian maple syrup, which has the best flavour on the market, and thus its why I use it almost on the daily. It really is one of my favourite pantry ingredients and I use it in about half of my dessert recipes. Here is why;
- Pure Canadian maple syrup has a natural caramel flavour that just can’t be compared to anything else. The taste is simply delicious.
- The flavour is delivered straight from Mother Nature. No fillers, no synthetic additives, no sugar syrup- it is simple the pure sap derived from the Canadian maple tree.
- Pure Canadian maple syrup is naturally vegan, gluten free, paleo and nut free.
- When compared to sugar (and other forms of sweetener) it has higher levels of micronutrients, including antioxidants and many minerals. You can read more about Queen Fine Foods pure Canadian maple syrup here.
In particular, the syrup is very useful to make my Blueberry and vanilla bean ice-cream as it is already a liquid form of sugar, and easily replaces the sugar syrup used in more traditional ice-cream recipes.
Master blend vanilla extract
Without doubt, vanilla would be my most used spice- mostly because I work with cacao/chocolate so regularly, and vanilla is an absolute must there (it plays an important role in enhancing and the chocolate flavour).
You cannot substitute the flavour of PURE vanilla extract, and the Celebrating 120 years Master blend Vanilla extract is the most premium blend offered by Queen Fine Foods, however they do offer lots of different varieties. I highly recommend checking out this link to see what they offer, their commitment to sustainable vanilla harvesting, and to download a copy of their free vanilla ebook.
So, why PURE vanilla extract?
- Pure vanilla is extracted from an orchid flower, and is a 100% natural plant extract. Vanilla essence, however, is usually a synthetically (chemically) flavoured alternative ahh is much cheaper than the real thing.
- Pure vanilla extract has a naturally sweet flavour, and reduces the need for sugars and sweeteners
- Vanilla partners perfectly with blueberries, and add a depth of flavour to the ice-cream that cannot be omitted or substituted.
What other ingredients do I need
- Full fat coconut cream
- Raw cashews
- Fresh lemon juice
- Vodka (optional)
Choosing your coconut cream and milk
The most important factor in creating that perfect, creamy vegan Blueberry and vanilla bean ice-cream lays with what coconut cream (and milk) you buy. There are so many on the market, and they’re created with a huge amount of variance. Some brands are higher in coconut oil (which will result in a harder-set ice-cream), some higher in coconut water, and some with various other ingredients. If the creamy vegan chocolate ice-cream doesn’t turn out exactly as you hoped, it will be due to your choice in coconut cream.
Quite simply, some brands will work better than others. I have tried this recipe with both the Ceres Organics full-fat and Woolworths Organic full-fat versions, and both worked really well.
About the vodka
Vodka ice-cream? I know, it sounds odd- but hear me out. Vodka doesn’t freeze (at least not until about -20 degrees C), so adding a small amount of this versatile alcohol to the mixture will alter how hard the ice-cream sets. You won’t last it one tiny bit, and yes- the vodka will help to create a truely creamy vegan chocolate ice-cream.
Unsure about it? Simple, leave it out! You’ll still get a good result, but know that I do recommend it.
Why you will love this recipe
- It’s only 8 ingredients
- It is a delicious seasonal recipe, and great for berry season
- It’s decadent, creamy and full of flavour
- Your kids will love it
How to make Blueberry and vanilla bean ice-cream
Step 1- Get prepared
Be prepared. The night before, chill your ice-cream maker and your liquid ingredients- using chilled ingredients makes all the difference when using an ice-cream maker, and is a non-negotiable. Soak cashews in water, and pop these in the fridge, too.
Step 2- Blend and churn
Blend and churn. It really is that simple. Use a high-powdered blender to combine the coconut cream, drained cashews, blueberries, vanilla, maple syrup, salt, lemon juice and optional vodka. Once you’ve got a uniform mixture, you should then re-chill the ingredients for 15 minutes in the freezer- using a metal bowl will help here (as metal is a better conductor than, say, plastic)- however, if its the middle of winter and the ice-cream mixture is very cold to the touch, you can skip the step.
Now, churn. Simple. Turn the ice-cream maker on BEFORE you add the chilled mixture, to avoid it freezing (and sticking) to the wall of the churning bowl. 40-45 minutes should be be enough, leaving you with something that ;looks like soft-serve.
Yes, you can definitely eat it at this stage.
Step 3 – Freeze and store
If you don’t want to eat the entire 2L of ice-cream in its soft-serve version, now you’ll transfer the Blueberry and vanilla bean ice-cream to a 2L capacity metal container, cover with baking paper, and freeze. You can a) freeze for 3-4 hours to create the traditional texture of ice-cream, or freeze as a storage method (if this is the case, you’ll need to allow 5-15 mins for the ice-cream to soften before serving, hence-forth).
How to properly cover the ice-cream, for optimal storage.
This step is important, so don’t overlook it. Most home-made ice-cream recipes will tell you to cover the ice-cream with cling wrap (and you can do that), but there are other options for those of us that want to avoid that single-use-plastic trap. They are;
- Recycle an old food-safe plastic bag. You know, a produce one. These can be used again, and again, and again.
- Use (compostable) baking paper, preferably double layered. baking paper can ASLO be reused, many many times. Simply wipe clean after use, and hang up to dry.
- Invest in reusable silicone wrap. designed to replace cling wrap/plastic wrap, they would be the perfect solution here. I have not tried it, but ill let you know when I do.
Which ever option you choose, the key here is to cover the ice-cream as snuggly as possible. Any gaps between the ice-cream surface and the cover will mean ice crystals can form, and they will effect the taste and texture of your beautifully churned dessert.
I don’t have an ice-cream maker- HELP!
Not to worry- you can still make your Blueberry and vanilla bean ice-cream and eat it, too.
Option 1. You’ll need a blender for this.
Once you have followed the initial steps of preparing your ingredients and blending them together, you then will need to transfer the liquid mixture to one of the following options;
- 2 large, food-safe zip-lock bags (divide the mixture between the two, and squeeze out all the air you can). A great alternative here is to use repurposed food bags- I save the ziplock bags that organic berries come is, and use those.
- 2 large, deep baking trays lined with baking paper (or plastic wrap if that is what you have).
- Plastic containers, as many as you need to have the mix about 3-5mm thick. This option is the least desirable, but still works.
Then, place whatever option you used into the freezer for 6hrs plus. After that time, break up the frozen ice-cream into chunks, and place into a high-speed blender. You will need to use your sampler while blending, but after a few minuted you’ll have a creamy, ready-to-eat Blueberry and vanilla bean ice-cream.
Popsicles. Tried and tested. After blending the liquid ingredients simply transfer to silicone popsicle/ice-cream moulds, insert popsicle sticks and away you go!
Without further ado, here is the recipe to my Blueberry and vanilla bean ice-cream . Enjoy!Print
A creamy, vegan ice-cream the utilises fresh summer produce, pure maple syrup and vanilla extract to make the perfect summer dessert. Its also refined sugar free.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup pure Canadian maple syrup
- 2 Tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 3 hours
- 2 x 400mL cans full-fat coconut cream
- 1 Tbsp (15mL) Master blend Pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp vodka (optional; see blog post)
- 1/4 tsp salt
I topped the ice-cream with Queen Fine Foods unicorn confetti- a fully vegan sprinkle tag tis available in major supermarkets.
*Please check the ingredients list on your waffle does to ensure they’re vegan.