When I posted about the virtues of using real vanilla beans, one of the comments I got intrigued me. It came from Cindy of Where’s the Beef? who directed me to a vegan vanilla cashew ice cream that she had made with vanilla beans that, (as she put it) really knocked her socks off! I went and immediately had a look at the recipe and as soon as I saw that the sweetener used wasn’t sugar but maple syrup, I was sold; vanilla beans, cashews and maple syrup? Heck yeah!
I made a few changes to the recipe and decided to call it a Vanilla Cashew Sorbet, to trick more people into making it. Sometimes the word vegan can throw you for a loop but this ‘ice cream’ is easy to make, doesn’t require any weird ingredients and tastes so amazing you’ll forget it’s not full of animal product goodness. Even though I will never give up bacon or cream or eggs, those crazy vegans are onto something with this recipe. If you’re unsure at all of my devotion to meat, then you should check out this post that I wrote for Get Your Grill On, it's steak-errific.
Vanilla Cashew Sorbet (Adapted from Vegan Vanilla Cashew Ice)
2 cups roasted, unsalted cashews
3 cups water
1 cup maple syrup (none of this "maple-flavoured syrup", you need the real Canadian thing!)
In a medium, heavy bottomed pot, combine the cashews, water and vanilla beans, (which you should first slice in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out of, adding them as well) and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let sit for about 2 hours.
Add maple syrup and blend, preferably in your super strength K-Tec blender under the mixture is completely smooth. If you don’t have a K-Tec, (I pity the fool who doesn’t have a K-Tec) you can do this in a regular blender or food processor, but I don’t think you’ll get the same smooth results, I could be wrong though, so please do try it and let me know, (regardless, it’ll be delicious).
Once everything is blended, just put the blender container right in the fridge to chill completely, preferably over night. Before pouring into your ice cream machine, give it another little whirl in the blender and then proceed as per usual. It will get quite hard in the freezer, but if you let it soften for ten minutes on the counter, the creaminess comes right back.