Nut Milk Ice Cream (makes 1 quart)
1.5 Cup Fresh Banana puree
1.5 Cup Cashew Milk* (see Nut Milk Recipe)
¾ Cup sugar
2 pinch Salt
3 Egg yolks
1. Mix banana puree, cashew milk, sugar, salt and egg yolks in food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Place into double boiler and heat mixture over medium heat, whisking slowly until mixture thickens. Cool and set aside.
3. Add to ice cream machine and churn. When it comes out of machine, ice cream will be very soft. Place in freezer and ripen overnight.
Cashew Nut Milk Recipe (makes 3 cups)
1 Cup Cashews
3 Cups Water
1. Place 1 cup cashews in water, steep overnight.
2. The next day, place cashews and water in food processor and blend for 3 minutes.
3. Put cashew blend through cheesecloth and squeeze out the liquid to strain out solid particles. Use as needed.
When I first heard about the concept of Future Feast, I was excited to participate. I knew I would be making an Ice Cream without using dairy, and I would get a chance to bust out the non-recipes I had compiled over the years. “No Dairy? No Problem!”
However, when I got the list of foods that might be affected by climate change (and were therefore off limits), my heart sank. I knew that I wouldn’t do milk, that was fine, but it seemed like the list was specifically crafted to remove every possible option I had. Coconut milk? Nope. Soymilk? Also out. Those were my two go-to ingredients for non-dairy ice cream and they were off the table right from the start. Great. I asked for a challenge and I got one.
I was really trying to think of nontraditional substitutions for milk. I briefly thought I had something with Horchata, which is a Mexican milk-like drink made with rice, but then I remembered that rice was also on the list. Almond milk was also off limits and I was nearing the end of my rope, until I realized: What about OTHER nuts?
It was then that I quickly researched how to make my own nut milk, which is much easier than one would think. All you need is a cheesecloth and a good blender to make it. Trying different nuts, I eventually settled on cashew because it gave a nice creamy richness with a flavor that would play well with other ingredients.
I combined the nut milk with pureed banana, which provides body to the base in lieu of cream, and some egg yolks to provide some fat for that smooth rich texture. I chose to not add any other flavorings like vanilla extract because cashews and bananas are already a delicious combination and I wanted to highlight the ingredients rather than use them as a canvas for other flavors. A pinch of salt to bring out the sweetness and we were good to go.
Nut Milk Ice Cream is a sustainable dish for the future because the all various flavors it can be made into can be used as a substitute for milk, which is central to so many of our foods; dessert or otherwise. Personally speaking I hope that future never comes to pass, but it’s comforting to know that even if milk were to become unavailable, there will still be Ice Cream.