A wildfire started about six miles from my home on Sunday, growing from half an acre to 700 acres overnight. The entire fire station was thrown into a frenzy as people arrived to help, with sirens wailing and cars parked everywhere. While some manned the station and made sure there was staff to respond to medical calls in the area if necessary, others went to help protect homes in the face of the rapidly growing fire.
While far better people than I were throwing on their wildland fire protection gear and making sure they had enough water, I was making ice cream. Wildfires drive me crazy because I used to cover them for the local newspaper. I had complete freedom and justification to call every public agency I could think of to discover what the fire was doing and what would come next; I was the one the Wood River Valley could rely on for that information. Now, I have to wait and read the newspaper like everyone else, even as my new husband could be literally standing next to a house on fire with a hose in his hand.
So, I make ice cream to keep from going crazy.
Don’t be fooled — making vegan ice cream is not an easy task. While I had this vision of simply throwing ingredients in a machine and having a delicious dessert just half an hour later, the process I’ve found is more complicated.
First, the coconut milk is heated to blend the fat with the liquid; the sugar or syrup should melt; everything needs to be whisked and then cooled in a gentle ice bath, possibly in the fridge, for an hour and a half, until it can be added to the machine and churned into the only antidote to wildfire-related stress. Five minutes before the churning is over, you can add the berries and watch as the mixture turns ever-so-slightly pink from the macerated raspberries.
The process is more than worth it, even if you don’t have a wildfire raging somewhere nearby. This ice cream can heal a myriad of ills, from feeling sad to experiencing a sugar crash. Ha.
- 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 Tbsp vodka
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
- First, don’t forget to put your ice cream bowl in the fridge! I store mine in there wrapped in a plastic bag so it’s always ready to go.
- Second, heat the coconut milk, honey and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth and well-combined. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and vodka.
- Chill coconut milk mixture until thoroughly cooled all the way through, whisking occasionally. It will take at least an hour.
- Place the coconut milk in the ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions. It will likely take about 30 minutes. Five minutes before the churn cycle is complete, throw in the berries and allow to mix in.
- If you want soft-serve, you can serve it right out of the machine. If you want a firmer texture, scoop into a loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap, pushing the plastic wrap against the surface of the ice cream. Allow to freeze until firm — probably about four hours. Enjoy!