Rum and raisin ice cream is another flavor of ice cream that Jamaican folks are brought up on and will probably order over any other flavor if it is available. I have been experimenting with vegan ice creams since last summer but was not sure how to do it well. I ended up with a product that was very icy and just found the trick to creamy vegan ice cream – CORNSTARCH!
When using just coconut cream, with no way to get a thick custard (because of the removal of the egg yolks) there will almost always be an icy end product. To ensure that the ice cream base has a good and creamy custard, cornstarch is used to thicken the base. Another option is xanthan gum but I have not experimented with that just yet. Here are some tips below to read before getting started.
You can buy coconut cream but it’s really hard to find it unsweetened. Most coconut creams come already sweetened for use in drinks like Pina Coladas. To avoid using an already overly sweet product, simply place 2 cans of coconut milk in the refrigerator the night before making your ice cream. The cream will naturally separate from the water in the can and you can scoop the cream off easily with a spoon.
Finding the right coconut milk to use in this recipe can be tricky. I wanted to find the creamiest coconut milk on the market so I chose the Silk brand of coconut milk. You can also use pea milk, oat milk, or any other milk alternatives you like. My only suggestion is to pick a brand that produces the creamiest version of a milk alternative that you like.
This recipe calls for 4 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch. The cornstarch is a key ingredient as it does the job of the replaced egg yolks. It helps to thicken the custard which is essential for a creamy and less icy ice cream.
This recipe uses a ½ cup of raisins which is more than enough to stud this ice cream. Since raisins are typically very dry, it’s best to soak them in the rum so they can take on some of the good rum flavor, but also plump up and be tender to eat. Some of the rum around the raisins will be added to the custard and the rest the next day after the ice cream is churned and the raisins are added.
Chilling the custard overnight:
The custard can be churned the same day once it has chilled in the fridge for about 4 hours. My recommendation is that you leave the custard overnight to produce an even creamier end result. I actually learned this trick by accident after feeling too tired to churn ice cream on the same day. The end result of a custard left alone is a far superior end product.
YOU DO NOT NEED AN ICE CREAM MACHINE TO MAKE ICE CREAM!
I use my expensive ice cream attachment because well, I already have it. However, you can freeze the ice cream custard instead of leaving it in the fridge, and use your food processor or a blender to “churn” it. You will need to slice the frozen custard into manageable pieces before blending. Blending the frozen custard will yield the SAME results that an ice cream maker will give you. If you have an ice cream maker, by all means, use it. If you dont, just follow the steps above. You’re welcome.
Once the ice cream is churned (or blended), it will set after roughly 4 hours in the freezer.
- ½ cup raisins
- ⅓ cup Jamaican rum (white or dark)
- 2 cups coconut cream (2 cans)
- 3 tsps vanilla paste or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups Silk coconut milk (or other milk alternative of your choice)
- 4 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- In a small bowl, add raisins and rum. Toss the raisins in the rum with a spoon and cover with cling film and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk coconut milk, granulated sugar and cornstarch until the cornstarch and sugar have dissolved. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, add coconut cream and vanilla paste or extract. Whisk the cream and vanilla paste over low heat until combined and the cream gently melts.
- Once the cream and vanilla are combined, gently whisk the coconut milk and cornstarch mixture into the warm cream. Measure 4 tbsps of rum from the soaking raisins, and add to the custard. You will need to use a spatula and whisk to stir the custard constantly over the heat until it thickens, about 10-12 minutes.
- Once the custard thickens, pour it into a loaf pan or casserole dish. Use cling film to cover the top of the custard so a skin does not form. Place the dish into the refrigerator and leave overnight. You may also churn the custard in 4 hours if you are in a hurry. Leave the raisins in the remaining rum to continue to soak overnight.
- If you do not have an ice cream machine and will need to use a blender to churn the ice cream, place your dish into the freezer overnight. Be sure you are using a freezer safe dish or loafpan that will not crack in the freezer. Also, read the notes above under the section labeled “churning.”
- The next day, place your custard into your ice cream machine and follow your manufacturer's directions. You should have fully churned ice cream in about 30 minutes.
- If you are not using an ice cream machine, slice your frozen custard and place the pieces into your food processor or into your blender. Blend or process until smooth.
- Place ⅓ of the ice cream into a loaf pan or freezer safe container. Spoon ⅓ of the raisins onto the first layer of ice cream. It is okay if the remaining rum is drizzled into the ice cream during the process. Add a second layer of ice cream and spoon another third of the raisins on top. Add the last amount of ice cream and top with the remaining raisins. Use a spatula to submerge the raisins into the cream. Use cling film to cover the top of the ice cream and return it to the freezer. It should set and be ready to eat in 4 hours.
- Once the ice cream is set, scoop with the help of a warm scoop and enjoy.