Prep Time: Active time c. 90 minutes; inactive time 7+ (worthy) hours
I feel like matching cherries and almonds is almost a no-brainer. If you want it to be a brainer though, here’s why this pair go so well together. Cherries and almonds have complementary flavor profiles because they’re botanically related; both these ingredients are members of the genus Prunus. This means that both cherries and almonds grow on similar trees (drupes), and have a number of comparable chemical compounds. That means they make a great combo in food: hence cherry bakewells and similar cherry-almond cakes.
I love this ice cream because it capitalises on the cherry-almond partnership, and not only in terms of flavor but with texture too. I really wanted this to be an ice cream of many textures: with tart, unctuous cherry sauce, juicy cherry chunks, smooth almond butter, and crunchy chopped almonds. And that’s just how it turned out!
This sweet vegan treat will keep in your freezer for up to five days, but it’s really best eaten within the first two.
For the cherry swirl:
1 box of cherries (c. 400g) Half a tablespoon of date or agave syrup The juice of half a lemon A pinch of salt
For the ice cream mixture:
1 can of coconut milk (400ml) 1 carton of coconut cream (250ml) 2 tablespoons of date or agave syrup 1 tablespoon of treacle Half a teaspoon of salt Half a teaspoon of natural vanilla extract Half a teaspoon of natural almond extract 2 tablespoons of cornflour 2 tablespoons almond butter
Extra syrup of your choosing Chopped almonds
1 small saucepan 1 large saucepan 1 large bowl Whisk Storage box or carton Blender or food processor Ice cream machine (or a lot of arm power)
1./ First, start making the cherry swirl. This is going to be a fruity, compote-type concoction that gets swirled into the almond base later on.
Start by prepping the cherries; get those washed, destalked, destoned, and halved. Then, take half of them, and purée them in a blender or food processor. Add this blended mixture to a small saucepan, along with the rest of the halved cherries, the lemon, salt and syrup. Put this over a medium-high heat until it’s boiling. At that point, turn down the heat to low and let the mixture simmer and reduce until it looks slightly thinner than a jarred compote or jam. Remember, you want it to be thin enough to swirl, but not at all runny. It might take a while for the mixture to reach this point (maybe about an hour), so feel free to get started on the rest of the ice cream while it does this. Just don’t forget about it, and stir it occasionally. Also, give it a little taste test before you take it off the heat. You want a nice, tart sauce, so add more lemon if you feel it needs this.
2./ Make the ice cream base. First, add your coconut cream and milk to a large saucepan; don’t heat it yet, but whisk it all up till well combined. Of this mixture, take about one cup’s worth, and put it into a mixing bowl. Add to the mixing bowl the cornflour, and whisk the coconut-flour mixture till well-combined. Now you can start heating the coconut in the pan on a medium heat; as you do this, add in the cornflour-coconut mixture, and whisk the whole thing constantly to keep it smooth. Add the syrup, treacle, salt, and vanilla and almond extracts too. Do not allow the mixture to boil. As it heats, the mixture will begin to thicken; you’ll know it’s ready when it can coat the back of a spoon without running off.
3./ Take the ice cream mixture and the cherry swirl (which should be about ready), and leave them out to cool in separate bowls for about 30 minutes. Then refrigerate them for at least 4 hours.
4./ Once refrigerated, you can start churning. Add the ice cream base to your ice cream machine; these can vary, so follow the manufacturer’s manual for specific instructions. Towards the end of the churn (i.e. when the ice cream is at a soft-serve kind of consistency) add into the machine the almond butter and most of the cherry swirl. Once these are both swirled in, take the ice cream out of the machine and add it to your storage container.
5./ At this point you can either eat the ice cream right away, or you can freeze it for 3-4 hours to let it harden a little. Either way, top it with any reserved cherry sauce, extra syrup, and a load of crushed almonds.
Author's image; see more at Vegan Lass