OK, I know that is quite a claim to make… The Best Apricot Ice Cream… EVER. Well, simply put, IT IS. For several reasons:
1. It can be made without an ice cream maker. Truth be told I do have an ice cream maker in my possession (on long-term borrow from my Aunty), but honestly I often find it more hassle that it is worth to use. To start, remembering to freeze the canister. This would be OK if we had room in the freezer to leave it in there permanently but with my happy stock-making husband our chest freezer is choker blocker. And the ice cream maker model is one of those manual ones where you need to remember to turn it every 10 minutes and if you don’t remember, well bad luck as your ice cream is frozen solid before it is even churned. I hear the electric ones are pretty awesome but I am officially banned from buying more electric gadgets as our newly built over-sized pantry is completely full.
2. It is dairy-free. Yep, completely dairy-free ice cream, but you really wouldn’t know. I tested this on my ice cream loving sister and she thought I was joking when I told her it was dairy-free. Although if you really want to you could use cream (like the original recipe) in place of coconut cream but you won’t taste a lot of difference.
3. It is made from our very own homegrown apricots. If you have ever eaten an heirloom tree-ripened apricot, believe me you will never buy an apricot from the supermarket again. Our rather surprising apricot – as I explained last year – gave us the best Christmas present this year. We must have harvested about 15-20kg of apricots over the last few weeks. The children (and the parents) have been in apricot heaven.
4. It only contains 4 ingredients – apricots, coconut cream, sweetener and vanilla. The sweetener quantity is only 1/4 – 1/3 cup compared to a cup or more in most ice cream recipes I have made in the past. The amount of sweetener will depend on the ripeness of the fruit used and desired taste.
5. It just is The Best Apricot Ice Cream… EVER and I hope you make it. You can easily substitute the apricot for plums, peaches, mango or berries, however, it is the fleshy type of fruits that will give the best creamy ice cream results.
The basis of this recipe actually came to me via a discussion with a stallholder at Nelson’s Saturday market. I was buying a 1kg punnet of her ‘seconds’ strawberries and she asked me what I had planned for the strawberries. I told her we didn’t have a plan beyond eating them all within the next 24 hours. I often buy seconds as I find they have the best flavour. They are seconds because they have some bruising which tells me they were picked ripe rather than ‘almost ripe’.
Anyway, the strawberry woman starting telling me she has this old chap who comes to her stall every week to buy a large punnet of her seconds strawberries to make into ice cream. He simply removes the leaves from the strawberries then cuts them into quarters and freezes them. Every night after dinner he makes a bowl of strawberry ice cream by combining frozen strawberries with a little cream and icing sugar in his blender until smooth. So of-course I tried making this ice cream with my seconds strawberries using coconut cream (for my dairy intolerant son) and honey instead of icing sugar. It was very good and so simple to make.
This was last summer, so when our apricot tree started raining apricots I was itching to try the ice cream recipe again. And I was not disappointed, it is even better made with the fleshy apricots. You can either eat the ice cream soft straight away or spoon into a lined tin and freeze until firm for scooping.
8-10 perfectly ripe apricots, approx. 500g once the stones are removed
1 cup coconut cream (I use TradeAid or Kara brand as they don't separate) [OR pouring cream]
1/4 - 1/3 cup honey, maple syrup [OR icing sugar]
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Remove the stones from the apricots and quarter. Arrange snugly in a single layer on a lined tray. Freeze until solid, about 6 hours or overnight.
- Put the frozen apricots, coconut milk, 1/4 cup honey and vanilla into a blender or food processor and blitz for 1 minute until smooth. [Check the flavour and add extra honey if needed - this will depend on the ripeness of the fruit used.]
- Spoon into bowls to eat straight away, or scoop into a lined tin or ice cream container and freezer until firm, about 3 hours. Remove from the freezer and sit on the bench for 5 minutes to soften a little for scooping.
Variation: Use cherries, plums, peaches, mango or berries in place of the apricots.