For me, the arrival of cherry season always signals that Christmas is coming. It wouldn’t be an Australian Christmas without a big bowl of fresh, crisp red cherries on the table.
We are lucky enough to be able to grow our own cherries which means we always have heaps extra to eat, cook and give away during December. I wanted to create an ice cream with cherries and chocolate that was a little bit healthier but still smooth and creamy and that was dairy and egg free so everyone could enjoy it.
Beware when pitting the cherries for this, the juice goes absolutely everywhere! You can use a special cherry pitter (they are ok) or just use a paring knife or even your fingers to remove the pit.
The cherries are cooked briefly with a little vanilla and rice malt syrup, this is to soften them and to stop them from going rock solid when frozen. If you intend on eating all the ice-cream straight after churning as a soft serve then you can omit this step and just add the cherries in fresh.
whats good about it: Ready to drink coconut milk such as Vitasoy has been fortified with calcium (unlike the canned variety) so it is good for your bones and muscles. Avocado provides monounsaturated fats which are beneficial for the heart and for your skin and hair. Chocolate and cherries both provide high levels of antioxidants and cherries contribute fibre. Coconut sugar is a lower Gi variety of sugar.
- 3 cups Vitasoy coconut milk (can use another brand of ready to drink coconut milk or use ½ soy milk and half canned coconut milk)
- ½ cup the wholepantry coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice)
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 100g 70%cocoa dark chocolate
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ avocados
- 1 cup pitted cherries, halved
- 2tbsp the wholepantry rice malt syrup
- ½tsp vanilla
- For the ice cream:
- Place all ingredients except for avocado in a sauce pan and stir over low heat until the chocolate and sugar are melted. Allow to cool.
- Place mix in a blender with avocado flesh and blend until smooth.
- Place mix in an icecream maker and freeze according to manufacturers instructions. (If you don't have an icecream maker see tips below)
- Stir cherries, rice malt and vanilla in a small pan over low heat, bring to a simmer for 2-3 mins until cherries soften and begin to release juice.
- Remove cherries from the juice and stir through the frozen ice cream.
- Store in the freezer. You can keep the leftover cherry juice/syrup for desserts or to make drinks with.