A few weeks into our lockdown, I started making ice cream as a treat to Lundulph and myself and also to cool ourselves a little in the sweltering heat. But after 7 batches back-to-back, I've been wondering if there is another way of achieving a tasty ice cream with less fat and sugar, but which still freezes relatively soft. My Mum and my Sister experimented with oat whipping cream and reduced amount of condensed milk, which they reckon worked pretty well, though it did need some 15 minutes to "relax" a bit before it was scoopable. I've not come across oat whipping cream in the UK, so it's not something I've tried, but having made two batches of meringue recently, my thoughts spun onto the fabulous properties of aquafaba.
I had some in the freezer (purposefully put there to test the statement that it will not lose its capabilities) and since Veggie-wannabe-Lundulph is working his way through various types of canned beans and chickpeas, there's always lots of this liquid in the house at the moment. Thus a search on the internet resulted in this recipe, which I used as inspiration for ice cream batch number 8.
Makes about 2 litres
3 dl strawberry custard
red gel food colouring
3 dl unsalted aquafaba
½ tsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp vanilla essence
120 g icing sugar
- Measure up all the ingredients. Place the custard in a large bowl.
- Place the aquafaba in a stand mixer and sprinkle the cream of tarter over it, then start whisking on the highest speed for about 4 minutes.
- Add the vanilla essence, while the mixer continues to beat.
- In the meantime, using a whisk, stir through the custard to loosen it and add some red food colouring as it'll get very pale.
- After 2 more minutes of mixing the aquafaba, start adding the icing sugar, a spoon at a time, while the stand mixer continues to work for another 3 minutes until stiff peaks have formed.
- Start transferring the foam into the bowl with the custard in 4 - 5 parts, and fold each well before adding the next one, being careful not to know out too much of the air out of the mixture.
- Transfer to a plastic container and place in the freezer overnight.
Well, I think we have a winner. This was definitely soft scoop, I had no trouble dishing out our lunch dessert today. It wasn't too sweet, but also not too bland, the strawberry flavour came out very nicely and I thought it tasted a little like a sorbet, but fluffier.
In addition, it seems that indeed aquafaba works fine for whipping even after freezing. I had some doubts as to it's lack of flavour. The "fresh" part was a little cloudy and the thawed part was very cloudy, but once there was air inside, the foam was white and looked silky and smooth. The inspirational recipe states that the aquafaba should be whipped for 9 minutes, which is why I've given the minutes in the instructions. It didn't mention the speed of whipping and the speed would depend on the size of the engine of the machine, but run on max should be a good bet. The idea is to reach "stiff peaks" stage when everything has been incorporated. Looking back when I first tried using aquafaba, I have a vague memory that it did take quite a bit longer to reach the desired stage, compared to egg whites, so a stand mixer is strongly recommended. I have a mixer attachment for my Kitchen Assistent and the bowl is very sadly plastic, so I've not used it for making meringue with egg whites, however, aquafaba worked absolutely fine.
Of course, the aquafaba can't have any flavourings in it, so beware cans of beans in salted water or such. I believe any canned beans would work, but keep in mind that some beans will also release some colour into the liquid, so might not be suitable all times. I generally buy unsalted cans and have now instructed Lundulph not to throw the liquid away, but to start thinking of flavourings. The custard seems to be a decent base to use for a variety of fruit I should imagine. I also suspect we'll get through this ice cream a lot faster than the other one, there's just so much air in it.
Lundulph thought it was very light and fluffy and agrees that there was a bit of a sorbet taste to it, but agrees it's a winner.
Update 12th June 2020:
Since the original batch, I've made 3 more, all of which I swapped out the strawberry custard with something else and omitted the vanilla essence.
Batch 1: 3 dl of puréed mango and strawberries. This was even more like a sorbet.
Batch 2: A ganache from 200 g Valrhona passion flavoured white chocolate and 90 g condensed milk. Melt the chocolate gently. Scald the condensed milk and stir the two together, this goes quite thick. I also only had 2 dl of aquafaba, so ended up with a smaller amount. This resulted in quite a tangy ice cream.
Batch 3:A ganache made with 438 g single cream, 62 g granulated sugar and 200 g 70% bittersweet chocolate. Scald the cream together with the sugar, chop the chocolate if needed, then pour the hot liquid over the chocolate and let stand for a couple of minutes until the chocolate melts. Stir together until it becomes smooth, cover the surface with clingfilm and let cool down to room temperature. This makes about 5 dl, so only use 3 in the ice cream recipe. I also added 1 tsp of ground cinnamon to the part I used for the ice cream. Lundulph didn't like this one much. My intention was to get a creamier feel to the ice cream, but it felt kind of coarse and I suspect was closer to a granita in texture. Still, I quite liked it and I'll try to incorporate chilli in the next batch. I've also run out of chocolate pencils, so I'll need to make some more of those too.
Batch 4:334 g ripe raspberries, 256 g granulated sugar, 1 red Thai chilli. Wash the raspberries well, then place in a large bowl and add the sugar. Wash and slice the chilli lengthwise, but keeping the stalk intact and add to the bowl. Stir through, then refrigerate for 24 h until the sugar has melted. Stir through every now and then. Remove the chilli and taste the mixture to decide if you want to remove the chilli or keep it in. If keeping it in, cut off the stalk, then blend the whole lot and push through a sieve to remove the pips. In the meantime whip 4 dl of aquafaba with 160 g icing sugar, then fold together and freeze. This amounts to almost 4 litres of ice cream.
Batch 5:200 g white caramel chocolate calets and 200 g single cream. Heat the cream to about 65°C, then add the chocolate and leave for a couple of minutes to let it melt, then stir until it all comes together into a fairly runny ganache, leave to cool to room temperature. Mixed with the whipped up aquafaba, this gives the usual 2 litres of ice cream.