Cheese and ice cream are two foods that many people think they will never again be able to enjoy when they become vegan – or two foods that may keep some people from taking that leap! So whenever a recipe book about either comes across my desk I sit up and pay attention. These days you can go into many grocery stores and find plant-based alternatives for cheese and ice cream, and some are better than others, but they all have one thing in common. They are very processed foods that, although handy in a pinch, are not the healthiest items to add to your daily diet. Since one of the great benefits of eating a plant-based diet can be that it’s healthy as well as delicious, if we can find healthier ways to make tasty vegan cheese and ice cream at home, why not do it?
The Best Homemade Vegan Cheese & Ice Cream Recipes cookbook by Marie Laforet is broken into 2 parts – as you might expect, the first part is about vegan cheese, and the second vegan ice cream. For each she covers the basics – key ingredients, techniques, tools and equipment, and then of course the recipes. The cheeses in this book range from those that can be made and used immediately (e.g. the parmesan recipe we shared on the Vegan Mainstream Cookbook Club last week) to others that require some time to sit (in particular the fermented cheeses). I personally love the section on specialty cheeses since I usually make a variety of cheeses around Christmas time for a vegan wine and cheese night, and some of the recipes in this book are bound to become favorites…think Creamy Shallot and Chive Cheese Spread…mmmm. Most of the ingredients are pretty mainstream and easy to find, even in a small town (that’s where I am), and others can be found online, and for the vegan cheese lover, the effort will be worth it!
Next comes the ice cream section. What I love about this section is the variety. Some vegan ice cream books are focused on coconut-based ice creams, and though I love coconut-based ice creams, I don’t ALWAYS want coconut in my ice cream. In this book there is a real variety of bases, ensuring that there really will be something that everyone likes and can eat. From soy cream to almond milk to rice cream and coconut milk – and of course frozen fruit for sorbets – there are a variety of different bases used and lots of interesting flavors too: pistachio, matcha green tea, and even a tomato, strawberry basil sorbet! And if that’s not enough to get you excited, you’ll love the last chapter on frozen desserts…we have a sample recipe from that section below.
If you’re missing cheese and ice cream, get yourself a copy of this book, and start experimenting with some kinder, healthier options! And about that sample recipe to get you started:
Frozen Mini Layer Cakes
Halfway between cake and ice cream, this recipe is perfect as a dessert or an elegant snack. This version features blood orange juice, but you can make it with any other kind of fruit juice you like.
- 2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper
- Two 23⁄4- to 31⁄4-inch (7 to 8 cm) metal pastry rings
- 7 oz cashews
- 1 cup blood orange juice
- 3 to 4 tbsp agave syrup
- 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 cup light cane sugar
- 1⁄2 cup plain soy yogurt
- 5 tbsp neutral vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1⁄8 tsp vanilla bean powder
- 2 tbsp vegan milk
- 31⁄2 oz whole wheat flour, preferably einkorn wheat
- 1⁄4 tsp salt
Serve with melted chocolate and fresh fruit (such as a salad of oranges or other tart fruits, like raspberries or strawberries, depending on the season).
- Ice Cream: In a bowl, soak cashews in water for 8 to 12 hours.
- Drain cashews and transfer to blender. Add orange juice, agave syrup to taste and vanilla; blend until smooth. Freeze in an airtight container to chill (but do not freeze solid).
- Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, soy yogurt and oil. Add cocoa powder, baking powder and vanilla powder; stir well. Gradually incorporate milk, then sift flour with salt into batter and stir until combined. Spread mixture on a prepared baking sheet to a uniform thickness.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool. Using a metal pastry ring, cut out 6 cake rounds.
- Place both pastry rings on another prepared baking sheet (or on a platter). Place a cake round inside each. Pour a similar thickness of ice cream into each ring. Add a second layer of cake, then a second layer of ice cream, and finish with the last layer of cake. Freeze for at least 4 hours. Insert a knife blade around the edge of the ring to remove the ice cream cake.
Makes 2 mini layer cakes (serves 4)
Courtesy of The Best Homemade Vegan Cheese & Ice Cream Recipes by Marie Laforêt © 2016 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.