Prickly Pear Ice Cream (raw, GF, vegan)
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How many ways can one eat prickly pear ice cream…? I have only begun to explore this question.
Last week Bob and I went to the Farmer’s Market. As the weather is starting to head towards Fall, we are finding it much more enjoyable to mosey around the marketplace.
There was a vendor that was selling Prickly Pear Popsicles and the raw fruit too. So we decided to buy some. We actually had no idea on what to do with or how to prepare them, but we always have Google! :) Bob really got excited reading about the preparation because it involved a torch!
This fruit is also called Cactus pear, Tuna fruit, Indian figs and Mission cactus. Good-quality prickly pear is egg-shaped and has yellow to magenta coloring depending on the variety. Ripen prickly pears at room temperature. The small seeds are edible, but the rind is not. Be careful of spines that were not removed. Prickly pears are low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. They’re also a good source of Calcium and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Magnesium.
Never in my life have I seen such a natural color that was so vibrant! What a gorgeous shade it is, don’t you agree?!!
Ingredients: yields 5 cups
- 2 cups of raw soaked cashews 2+ hours
- 1 1/4 cup of prickly pear juice (see below)
- 1 cup of young Thai coconut meat
- 1/2 cup young Thai coconut water
- 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup of raw agave nectar or maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- Prickly pear juice :
- While holding the fruit with tongs or with a knife stuck into the end, remove needles from the pear by burning them off with a small hand torch. This is very important!
- The small needles on the fruit are very painful if they get under your skin. So handle carefully.
- After the needles are burnt off, cut the fruit in half and scoop out the seeds and flesh, then put them in the blender.
- Blend the flesh and seeds in the blender for about 40 seconds. Pour the mixture into a nut bag or a mesh screen to separate the seeds and pulp from the juice. Discard the seeds.
- Place the cashews in a glass bowl, along with 4 cups of water.
- Soak for at least 2 hours. Read more about why (here).
- The soaking process will help reduce phytic acid, which will aid in digestion.
- The soaking also softens the cashews so they blend nice and creamy.
- After the cashews are through soaking, drain and rinse.
- In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews, prickly pear juice, coconut meat and water, sweetener, lemon juice and salt. Blend until nice and creamy.
- Due to the volume and the creamy texture that we are going after, it is important to use a high-powered blender. It could be too taxing on a lower-end model.
- Blend until the filling is creamy smooth. You shouldn’t detect any grit. If you do, keep blending.
- This process can take 2-4 minutes, depending on the strength of the blender. Keep your hand cupped around the base of the blender carafe to feel for warmth. If the batter is getting too warm. Stop the machine and let it cool. Then proceed once cooled.
- Place the blender carafe in the fridge or freezer for 1 hour.
- If chilled in the fridge it can stay in there for up to 8 hours. But don’t leave in the freezer more than an hour or it will freeze solid.
- Once chilled pour the batter into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- It is best to take the ice cream out of the freezer for about 10 minutes ahead of time so it can have a chance to soften.
- Eat within 1 month.
Freezing Suggestions for Ice Cream:
- Use ice cream machine. Follow manufactures directions.
- Freeze in popsicle molds or 3 oz Dixie cups with a popsicle stick inserted.
- Pour ice cream into a freezer safe container and stir occasionally as it freezes.
- Freeze the ice cream in individual sized portions. I use either 4 oz mason jars or single serving ice cream containers.
- Store the ice cream in the very back of the freezer, as far away from the door as possible. Every time you open your freezer door you let in warm air. Keeping ice cream way in the back and storing it beneath other frozen-sold items will help protect it from those steamy incursions.
- Ice cream is full of fat, and even when frozen, fat has a way of soaking up flavors from the air around it—including those in your freezer. To keep your ice cream from taking on the odors, use a container with a tight-fitting lid. For extra security, place a layer of plastic wrap between your ice cream and the lid.
- To soften in the refrigerator, transfer ice cream from the freezer to the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before using. Or let it stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
- For more tips on making raw ice cream, click (here).