Vegan Maple + Lavender Cashew Ice-Cream {gf}

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The best vegan cashew based ice-cream. This is a maple and lavender version to celebrate the spring season and to riff on a previous favourite ice-cream flavour from David Leibovitz and his cookbook ‘The Perfect Scoop’. It’s refined sugar free and gluten free, so everyone can enjoy this rich and creamy ice-cream. 

I started working on this recipe back before I even went vegan. Back when the lactose intolerant part of me could not deal with the sheer amount of dairy that the ice-cream loving part of me kept insisting upon. Now though, I can eat a whole barrel of ice-cream and not feel sick! Not that I do this… Honestly though, not to toot my own horn, but this ice-cream is amazing. A LOT of love and tears have gone into this recipe, and too many nights to count spent on the kitchen floor eating a container full of sub-par ice-cream, hoping with each icy mouthful that the next bite will magically be better than the last.

My favourite recipe used to be David Lebovitz’s vanilla bean (custard based) ice-cream from his bible/cookbook ‘The Perfect Scoop’. Once I’d successfully veganised that though, I turned to my other favourite flavour from his book: the honey & lavender ice-cream. I used to make this almost as often as the vanilla bean, it sat happily with so many desserts and was flavourful enough to stand on its own, single (or double, triple?) scoop and a cone, nothing more. Fruit pies sang (blueberry in particular) and rich, dark chocolate tarts hummed when paired with this delicately floral ice-cream. I was lost without it in vegan land. Enter MAPLE SYRUP & lavender.

The maple here is stronger in flavour than David’s soft, honeyed version. However, I was blown away by the complexity of the caramel flavour of this ice-cream when I first made it and I’m completely in love with it. Initially I added the coconut sugar, in place of raw granulated, simply to avoid using a more refined sugar, but actually it adds to much depth to the ice-cream. Use regular sugar though if you’d like less of a caramel flavour.  I love lavender in cooking and baking, it adds such a lovely savoury-sweet floral note.

Vegan Maple + Lavender Cashew Ice‐Cream {gf}

vegan, dairy‐free, egg‐free, soy‐free, refined sugar‐free, gf
 Flavour combo inspired by David Lebovitz's Honey & Lavender ice‐cream from his book, 'The Perfect Scoop'. Cashew ice‐cream base inspired by & adapted over time from multiple recipes including Van Leuuwen's ice‐cream cookbook, Minimalist Baker & Serious Eats.
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dark maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp dried or fresh lavender buds
  • 3/4 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked overnight in water
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 5 tbsp plus 2 tsp. refined coconut oil you can used unrefined however it will have a more pronounced coconut flavour
  • 3/4 cup canned coconut cream refrigerate can of coconut milk or cream overnight, scoop the thick bit off the top to use in this recipe, leave watery part behind
  • 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt or 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh lavender buds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum

Instructions

  • Gently heat the maple syrup with the 2 Tbsp lavender in a small saucepan. Once warm, remove from heat, cover with a lid & let infuse for 1 hour. Strain out the lavender & set the maple aside.
  • Drain the soaked cashews & transfer to a blender with 1 cup water; purée until completely smooth. Combine the coconut sugar & 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium‐high heat. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the coconut oil, coconut cream & salt.
  • Heat until the mix begins to simmer & the salt is dissolved, then remove from the heat & add to the blender with the cashew cream. Blend on high for 1 minute (this simmering & blending step is important to avoid a grainy texture from the coconut cream).
  • Add the lavender infused maple, 1 tsp lavender buds, vanilla extract & xanthan gum to the blender, then blend on high again for 1–2 minutes until smooth & well blended. Pour into a medium mixing bowl & sit the bowl inside a larger bowl filled with a little ice & water. Stir the mix over the ice bath until cool & then refrigerate until completely chilled (preferably overnight).
  • Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn until the ice‐cream is thick & has a soft‐serve consistency, my cuisinart ice‐cream maker takes about 20 minutes to churn. Quickly transfer to an airtight storage container & freeze until set, at least 4 hours (or eat at soft‐serve consistency if you prefer!). The ice cream will keep, frozen, for up to 1 week (it will freeze for longer than this however homemade ice‐cream becomes icy quite quickly, it really is best eaten in the first 1–2 days!).

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