Avocado Ice Dream

Hands-on: 20 minutes  Churning: 20 to 25 minutes   Yield: 5 to 6 cups; 8 servings

Avocados in ice cream?  The monounsaturated fats in avocado give this frozen dessert a silky smooth texture, and the natural antioxidants give it a pale green color.  This pairs beautifully with fresh fruit (think strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries), a fruit sauce, or Strawberry Ice Dream for a healthy snack or the finale to a great meal.  For a fancier touch, sprinkle with grated, bittersweet dark chocolate, or drizzle with Karly’s Cocoa Sauce or Hot Chocolate Sauce (from The Ice Dream Cookbook)

FYI:

The base or custard for this Ice Dream thickens enough when refrigerated that it can be served as a pudding, unfrozen, spooned into parfait or wine glasses, layered with sliced strawberries, bananas, and kiwi fruit and drizzled with chocolate sauce. Of course, it also tastes great frozen in an ice cream maker.

How to buy avocados:

Buy them up to a week in advance (if they feel rock hard) to give them time to ripen.  Buy 2 more than you need in case one turns out overripe and black inside. You can always turn extras into guacamole or add them to a salad.

How to store avocados:

If hard, keep them at room temperature in a bowl or basket. Use them when their skins darken and they yield to gentle pressure. When a toothpick inserts easily into the fat end with no resistance, they’re ready to use. If not, leave them out and try again in a day or two. Once ripe, you need to refrigerate them to prevent spoilage.

Note:

To easily open an avocado, cut it in half with a paring knife around the outside from stem to base. Then twist the sides in opposite directions, as if to unscrew. Squeeze the bottom half that holds the pit to release it. Now the flesh is ready to scoop from the skin.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup cool or cold filtered water

2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin or agar agar powder (not the flakes)

1/3 cup honey or agavé nectar; additional 1 to 2 tablespoons as needed

1/8 teaspoon finely ground, unrefined sea salt

2 1/2 cups unsweetened, preservative-free coconut milk (regular, not lite)

2 small to medium-size ripe avocados, rinsed, halved, pitted, pulp scooped out

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or lime juice

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or natural vanilla flavoring

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon clear stevia extract liquid (start with less; add more only if needed)

  1. Add 1/3 cup water to a small saucepan. Slowly sprinkle with gelatin or agar agar powder. Let stand for 2 minutes until it softens and dry spots disappear. Warm over medium-low heat, without stirring, until gelatin or agar agar dissolves. Scrape the mixture into a blender, Vita-Mix, or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth.
  2. Add honey, stevia, and sea salt. Blend. Add the coconut milk, avocado, lemon or orange juice, vanilla, and stevia. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides with a spatula. For a sweeter taste, add an additional 1/8 teaspoon stevia and/or 1 tablespoon honey. Blend, taste, and repeat if needed.
  3. Pour into one or more wide mouth jars. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before churning or chill in an ice bath until thick and cold to the touch.
  4. Scrape the chilled custard into the canister of your ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (usually 20 to 25 minutes).
  5. Serve immediately or spoon into several 8- to 16-ounce containers. Cover and freeze for 3 or more hours for a firmer texture.
  6. Soften solidly frozen dessert by placing it in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes or on the counter for 15 to 30 minutes before serving. Use within 4 months for best results.

1 serving (about 3/4 cup regular):

298 calories, 3 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrate, 23 grams fat, 71 milligrams sodium

1 serving (about 3/4 cup half lite):

253 calories, 2 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrate, 19 grams fat, 60 milligrams sodium

Variations:

  • Avocado Chocolate Chunk Ice Dream: When the mixture reaches the soft-serve stage, add ¾ to 1 cup malt-sweetened, fruit-sweetened, dairy-free, or bittersweet chocolate chips or a bittersweet dark chocolate bar (70 to 73%), coarsely chopped into ¼-inch pieces. Run the machine for 1 or 2 more minutes.
  • Cocoa Avocado Ice Dream: In step #2, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Taste, and add additional sweetener (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon stevia extract powder or 1 to 2 tablespoons honey at a time) to achieve the desired sweetness.
  • Lite Avocado Ice Dream: Replace half of the coconut milk with lite (reduced fat) coconut milk. Alternatively, use 100% lite coconut milk, but plan to use the batch immediately or within 24 hours before it becomes hard and icy.

Source: The Ice Dream Cookbook: Dairy-Free Ice Cream Alternatives with Gluten-Free Cookies, Compotes, and Sauces by Rachel Albert (Planetary Press, 2008).