Kids in the Kitchen Series
Cherries are in season in the Okanagan and there are so many ways to enjoy them. I could only eat so many raw cherries, and I needed to expand my repertoire of ways how to use these beautiful cherries. With that in mind, I have been playing with recipes for cherry compote, cherry cordial, cherry Danish and the featured recipe, Dark Cherry Vanilla Dairy-Free Ice (Nice) Cream.
There are members of my family who are dairy intolerant; so I developed my own version of a dairy-free dark cherry ice cream. One option is to use coconut milk for a dairy free alternative because it provides the same texture and creamy mouthfeel that an ice cream base made with cream would provide. Full Fat Coconut milk is quite expensive when compared to the cream that is used in regular ice cream. Therefore, for a number of reasons, I have used bananas to supplement the base mixture. Bananas add flavour and a natural sweetness to the base and are a more economical way to make dairy-free ice cream rather than using only coconut milk.
It is interesting to note that when bananas are utilized as a major ingredient in dairy-free ice cream, it is called “Nice Cream.” The term ‘Nice Cream’ has become a common culinary term. “Nice Cream” is defined by the process of puréeing or blending chunks of frozen bananas into a soft style ice cream. While I enjoy the smoothness of this frozen dessert, it does not hold up well when you serve it. The addition of coconut milk creates a much more stable velvety texture with a delicious creamy flavour. When chopped dark cherries are added, this dairy-free frozen treat is taken to a new level. I have included almond extract in the ingredients because it pairs so well with cherries (omit for nut allergies).
There is one ingredient that you might not expect in this dairy-free ice cream and that is gelatine powder. Gelatine helps with the texture of this dairy-free ice cream, which can often be as hard as a puck due to the lack of fat and sugar. CHEF’S NOTE: Granulated sugar is often used in ice cream recipes because it does not freeze and keeps the ice cream from over crystalizing. You can use any type of sugar (granulated, liquid sugar such as maple syrup, honey, etc.). Sugar unquestionably gives the ice cream a more familiar texture. As Julia Child said, “Everything in moderation – including moderation.” It is really all about balance in everything that you eat. As frozen desserts go, a small portion of this ice cream treat is a healthier and enjoyable dairy-free option. Dark Cherry Vanilla Dairy-Free Ice (Nice) Cream is also gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free and nut-free (if you omit the almond extract).
Typically, I will have lots of cherries left over, so I also want to share with you a recipe on how to make a delicious Dark Cherry & Vanilla Compote that is ready in less than five minutes. Dollop a spoonful of this compote on top of a serving of Dark Cherry Vanilla Dairy-Free Ice (Nice) Cream and you will have your guests and family coming back for seconds as this delicious compote goes so well with the Nice Cream….