I realize it is September and it seems a bit late to be posting about ice cream. And the Vancouver weather has has been less than sunny the past few days. But I don't believe that ice cream is just for kids or summer. I am a 365 days a year ice cream person. Even in the middle of the winter after a day skiing an ice cream cocktail is fantastic in front of the fire.

Last summer my hand crank ice cream maker died (it was over 15 years old and the crank broke). I could probably have had it repaired, instead I got a cherry red automatic Cuisinart beauty for Christmas. Best. Present. Ever.

So why make your own ice cream when you can buy 31 (and more) flavours right down the road? I like making my own ice cream because:

  • I control the ingredients and sugar
  • it is really easy and kind of fun - even my 9 year old can do it
  • it is faster than you think - 15-30 active minutes to make it (depending on whether you make a custard or not), then some time to sit in the fridge and whirling time in the machine (15-20 minutes)
  • I don't eat dairy so my vegan ice cream options at the local shops can be limited.

It does take a bit more forethought. But the result is far better than most anything at the grocery store and with much shorter lines (and cost) than the speciality ice cream shops.

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Strawberry ice cream on strawberries.

We had a HUGE strawberry crop this year and we overbought cherries while driving home through the Okanagan. I used a lot of them while they were fresh, but I also froze a lot too.  What better way to use up frozen fruit than combining them to make a fantastic ice cream?

Because I don't eat dairy I modify my recipe to use coconut milk and coconut cream. The results have been great, and not one milk drinker in our neighbourhood has noticed the difference. If you decide to try the dairy free version make the sure the coconut milk and cream are cold before they go into the ice cream maker. I put them in the fridge the day before, and the 1-2 hours sit time also helps.

strawberry ice cream

Strawberry ice cream with strawberry compote.

I use a basic Strawberry Ice Cream recipe from the Cuisinart recipe booklet. I tend to use this recipe no matter the type of fruit I use. And I also normally add more fruit, but I keep all the other proportions per the recipe. This recipe works whether you are using an automatic or manual ice cream maker.

  • 1-1/2  cups fresh (or frozen) strawberries, hulled (or berries of your choice)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk (I substitute whole coconut milk - I prefer the canned, but the carton also works.)
  • 2/3 cup granulate sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream (I substitute canned coconut cream - I tried coconut milk and didn't have the same results. But be cautious when using coconut cream, too much can make for a heavier flavour.)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Put the strawberries into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse strawberries until rough/finely chopped (I tend to pulse strawberries very fine, but leave blackberries or cherries a big rougher). Reserve in bowl.

2. In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine the milk (coconut milk), sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream (coconut cream) and vanilla. Stir in reserved berries with all juices. Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours, or overnight (when using coconut milk/cream I recommend the full 2 hours in the fridge).

3. Turn on the ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened about 15-20 minutes (or follow your normal method with a manual machine). If you want to add anything to the ice cream, like coconut, nuts or chocolate chips I normally do this about halfway through. When it is done, the ice cream will have a soft creamy texture.

If you have any leftover ice cream that makes it to the freezer it will harden pretty good. You may need to remove it from the fridge 10-15 minutes before you want to serve it.

I haven't tried making any of my usual ice cream cocktails since I gave up dairy. So I might need to take my cherry red beauty skiing with us this year and use my sisters-in-law as guinea pigs. I don't expect any complaints.