Whether you enjoy it piled high in a cone, or as a side with your favourite cake or pie, ice cream is considered a comfort food by most people.
This sweet frozen dessert is traditionally made with cow's milk or cream, and flavoured with sugar, cocoa or fruit and can sometimes contain egg. Ice cream gets its creamy smooth texture by slowly freezing the milk mixture, while constantly churning or stirring.
But with the rising popularity of vegan diets, there are now many dairy-free ice creams available in supermarkets. These ice creams are usually based on milk alternatives made of soy, rice, almond, coconut or cashews, and are usually more pricey than traditional dairy ice cream.
Fortunately, homemade allergy-friendly ice cream is very easy to make and doesn't require any specialized gadgets. The magical ingredient in this allergy-friendly ice cream recipe is frozen ripe bananas! The high pectin in bananas makes them perfect for whipping up into a creamy, frozen dessert.
Here's how I make allergy-friendly tutti-frutti ice cream without an ice cream maker:
Making banana-based ice cream takes a little bit of advance planning. When your bananas are starting to brown, peel them and place them whole into a freezer bag. Lay the freezer bag of bananas on a flat surface in your freezer, making sure that the bananas do not touch before they are fully frozen, otherwise you might end up with a big frozen chunk of banana that will be difficult to take apart. Freeze for at least one hour, or until the bananas are frozen through.
When you are ready to make your ice cream, cut the frozen banana into large chunks and put them in a food processor or good blender. Adding a little bit of dairy-free milk will help the banana blend easier — I used full fat coconut milk. Continue to blend until smooth and creamy. You may need to use a spatula to scrape down the sides and push the banana chunks down.
Once the bananas are fully blended and smooth, the banana ice cream base is complete and can be consumed as-is. People who love bananas will adore this ice cream, but I found the banana flavour to be very sweet and strong. I decided to add some vanilla extract, frozen strawberries and frozen mangoes to the mixture to make the perfect tutti-frutti flavour! Blend until smooth.
The allergy-friendly tutti-frutti ice cream can be served immediately, and will have the smooth texture of soft serve ice cream. This ice cream can also be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a week. After about one hour of freezing, the ice cream will harden slightly and can be scooped like traditional ice cream. If frozen overnight or longer, you will need to take out the ice cream and allow it to thaw for about five to 10 minutes before serving.
The banana ice cream base can be made into many different flavours. Try the following modifications or experiment with your own blends to find your favourite flavour:
Chocolate Ice Cream: blend in 1 tbsp. of cocoa powder and stir in 1/2 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips
Nutella Ice Cream: blend in 1 to 2 tbsp. of nut or seed butter, and 1 tbsp. of cocoa powder
Coconut Ice Cream: stir in 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
Peaches And Cream: blend in 1/2 cup of frozen peaches
Cinnamon Ice Cream: blend in 1 to 2 tsp. of cinnamon or pumpkin spice
Allergy-Friendly Tutti-Frutti Ice Cream
3 to 4 frozen ripe bananas
1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
6 to 8 frozen strawberries
1/3 cup frozen ripe mango chunks
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Peel ripe bananas and place them whole in a freezer bag. Lay the freezer bag of bananas on a flat surface in your freezer. Make sure the bananas do not touch before they are fully frozen. Freeze for about one hour, or until they are frozen through.
- Cut the frozen bananas into large chunks and put them in a food processor or good blender. Add coconut milk and blend until smooth.
- Add strawberries, mangoes and vanilla extract, and continue to blend until smooth.
- Serve immediately as soft serve ice cream, or freeze in an air-tight container for at least one hour for firm ice cream.
Pauline Osena is a food allergy advocate and founder of HypeFoodie.com, an online resource for allergy-friendly living. This former dairy junkie became an expert in allergy-friendly cuisine while figuring out how to feed her child with multiple food allergies. Pauline aims to inspire culinary adventures and experimentation with her series, "An Allergy-Friendly Makeover," and shares the valuable knowledge she has gained from her trials, errors and adventures in living with food allergies with "The Allergy-Friendly Top 10." Pauline's short-term goals include getting a full night's sleep and drinking her entire cup of coffee while hot.