The weather in Chicago has been all over the map – pushing 100 degrees one day and plummeting 40 degrees the next. Today is up – way up. And HUMID. I know this may sound rather peculiar but I actually like humidity. I find it far preferable to hot, dry, windy air that feels like you’re standing in front of a blast furnace. And although I don’t mind humidity, there are times when it can get oppressive. And today is pushing that limit for me. To keep the heat at bay, I made a refreshing, vegan ice cream. Or granita. Or sherbert. Or sorbet.Or gelato. So what exactly is the difference between all of these?
Ice cream has between 10 – 15% butterfat as well as sugar and eggs. Gelato has less air whipped into it than ice cream, resulting in a denser consistency and often a more intense flavor. Sorbet is made from fruit and sugar only. Sherbert is like sorbet, but adds milk or cream. Like sorbet, granita doesn’t contain milk, but instead of placing it in an ice cream maker like all the others, its frozen and frequently scraped, allowing ice crystals to form.
Technically, my creation doesn’t qualify as any of these. There is no sugar – just a super ripe banana! Instead of dairy milk or cream, I used unsweetened vanilla-flavored soy milk. And I scraped it like a granita rather than using an ice cream machine – because I don’t own one and that’s probably a very good thing. When I was a kid, my parents received one as a gift and by the end of the summer we had all gained weight. Some gadgets are just better off in a box on the garage shelf.
So let’s just call it vegan ice cream and be done with it. All that really matters is that it’s a delicious way to fight the summer heat!
Ingredients (serves 4 – 6)
1 ripe banana
1 cup fresh or frozen mango
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries (if frozen whole, roughly chop to help blender)
1 cup unsweetened soy, almond or coconut milk
- Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth.
- Pour into a glass container and spread it out evenly. Place it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove it and, using a fork, gently scrape the surface and frozen edges, incorporating them into the center. Keep doing this every 30 minutes for 3 – 4 hours. Each time you remove it, there will be more ice crystals formed. Make sure you scrape the sides and bottom or you’ll just end up with a big solid frozen smoothie!
- Serve immediately. Will hold for 24 hours.