We could all do with a little more sunshine and positivity in our lives right now, and one positive thing (here in Ireland anyway) is that the sun has been out in full force here lately. So even though there's still a bit of a chill-out there, if you're an Irish person you'll know that we like to make the very most of every glimmer of sunshine we get here.
For me personally, that means whipping out the ice-cream recipes; who's with me? For the first ice-cream recipe of the season, I'm going full-on tropical with this piña colada concoction. It's fresh and tropical yet creamy and thick, and what's best is that little kick of dark rum that really rounds off the tropical cocktail experience.
WHAT'S IN THIS ICE CREAM?
The main ingredient in this ice cream is fresh pineapple. Naturally, the quality of the fruit you use will have a large overall effect on the quality and flavor of the finished recipe. Where possible, opt for super-ripe fruit as it will have a higher sugar content and a more intense flavor. I like to check if a pineapple is ripe by gently pulling at one of the leaves, they should come away from the fruit without having to apply force.
You can of course use tinned pineapple in place of a fresh one depending on the availability where you live. I would suggest using one that's in pineapple juice (not in syrup). It's also a good idea to add your maple syrup sparingly if you opt for tinned pineapple, as it can tend to be sweeter than fresh pineapple. So add your sweetener bit by bit and taste test to make sure you're happy with the flavor before transferring your ice cream to the ice cream maker.
COCONUT MILK AND COCONUT OIL
The second main ingredient that gives this ice cream its tropical flavor is coconut. This recipe uses two different forms of coconut; milk and oil. The coconut milk gives a creamy texture and coconut flavor to the ice cream. Whereas coconut oil helps the ice cream's texture by keeping it more "scoop-able" by increasing the fat content.
Adding cashews to dairy-free ice cream is a great way to get a creamy consistency. If you can't have cashews, you can omit them from the recipe, and include an extra cup of canned coconut milk in their place. The consistency will not be the same, but the ice cream will still taste great.
Maple syrup is definitely my favorite sweetener when it comes to making many different desserts including ice cream. It gives a wonderful flavor, and what's more, contains nutrients such as riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. You can definitely use agave syrup in place of maple syrup if you don't have it to hand, but I would suggest tasting your mixture before churning as agave is naturally sweeter than maple syrup, you may need to use less than specified in the recipe.
This is the fun part. The amount of rum in this ice cream is quite minimal, but it does give it the classic piña colada twist. Adding a little alcohol to the ice cream also helps it to not harden rock solid, making it a softer scoop.
As with most desserts, I like to add a little bit of salt as it helps to enhance and balance out the flavors. Although this is completely optional, I do recommend it!
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
PREPARE YOUR INGREDIENTS
This ice cream is really easy to make. Start by preparing your cashews which need to be pre-soaked in order to soften them. Place the cashew nuts in a bowl and cover them with filtered water. Allow them to soak for 4 hours, then rinse them clean and drain them before use.
To prepare your coconut milk, place the can in the fridge overnight (I like to keep a few cans in the fridge to have to hand). This will cause the fats to separate from the water. You only want to use the thick coconut cream from the top of the can, not the liquid from the bottom of the can.
Next prepare your pineapple by removing the skins. Cut the pineapple vertically into quarters. You'll want to cut away the thick center core piece and use only the soft flesh.
MAKE THE ICE CREAM BASE
Add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor and blitz until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy, without lumps. The blending process may cause the mixture to heat up slightly. If this is the case, make sure you allow the mixture to cool completely before the next step which is adding it to the ice cream maker. Adding a warm mixture to your ice cream maker will heat up the frozen machine and thus, prevent your ice cream from reaching the correct consistency as it will not be cold enough.
CHURN AND FREEZE
Once the mixture is cool, add it to your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. You can enjoy it straight from the ice-cream maker as soft serve if preferred.
NOTE: If you do not own an ice cream maker, skip this step and move straight to freezing the ice cream. Then remove it from the freezer after 2 hours, blend it in your food processor to remove any ice crystals, and re-freeze for about 4 hours.
Next transfer the ice cream to a loaf tin lined with some parchment paper and cover it with more parchment to prevent the direct air from getting to the ice cream while in the freezer. Freeze the ice cream for 4 hours, it may require less time depending on how good your freezer is!
Before serving, remove the ice cream from the freezer for 10-15 minutes to allow it to thaw very slightly and become more scoop-able.
WHY MAKE THIS ICE CREAM?
- Plant-based and Vegan-friendly
- Bursting with tropical vibes
- The perfect balance of creamy and fresh
- Naturally sweetened with maple syrup
- Made with just 7 ingredients
- Easy to make
- Free from animal-derived products
- Gluten-free (check labels of ingredients if you have a severe allergy/intolerance)
More vegan ice cream
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Pina Colada Ice Cream (Vegan)
- ¾ cup (96.75 g) Cashews, soaked *see notes
- 2 cups (330 g) (1 medium) Fresh pineapple, chopped
- 1 cup Chilled canned coconut milk , (use only the thick cream from top of the can)*see notes
- ½ cup (118 ml) Maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons (60 g) Coconut oil, solid
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dark rum
- ¼ teaspoon (1.25 g) Sea salt
- Soak the cashews according to the recipe notes.
- Add the chopped pineapple, soaked cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, dark rum, and salt to a high-speed blender.
- Blitz for a few minutes until the mixture is completely smooth.
- If the mixture has heated up from the blending process, allow it to cool to room temperature first before adding it to your ice cream maker.
- Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and churn for 40 minutes or according to the manufacturers instructions.
- Once the ice cream has finished churning, transfer it to a loaf tin lined with parchment paper and cover the top with more parchment paper so that it is not exposed to the air.
- Place in the freezer to set for 4 hours before serving.
- Soaked cashews: Cover cashews with filtered water for 4 hours, rinse and drain before use.
- Chilled coconut milk: Place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, and use only the thick coconut cream from the top of the can.
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