Dairy-Free, Dessert, Egg-Free, Evergreen (April - July), Gluten-Free, Pacific Northwest
Comments 6

Berry Season: Strawberry Sorbet + Dairy-Free Ice Cream Duo

Strawberry ice cream dairy free and strawberry sorbet

It was May, just as the strawberry fields were beginning to ripen, when my family and I moved to rural Oregon from the desert southwest. A big hand-painted plywood sign announcing “U-Pick Strawberries” near our new house beckoned. As motivation and reward I promised my then nine, seven, and three-year-old kids we would go as soon as we were unpacked and settled in.

Having grown up in cities, this “U-Pick” idea was just the best thing I’d ever heard of. Farmers actually let people onto their property to pick their produce? I had no idea I was expected to bring our own buckets or bowls, and we showed up that first day empty-handed and wearing inappropriate shoes for farm work.

Farmers, in general, are really nice people, and they had met our kind before. Spare grocery sacks were handed out, and we skipped off to our assigned rows.

The four of us had never tasted strawberries before. Yes, we’d had the trucked-in grocery store variety a lot of times, but the color, aroma, and taste of these field-ripened berries was like Dorothy entering the technicolor Land of Oz.

The kids and I laughed and stopped to look at the loamy earth, the bugs, and the whiskery leaves of the strawberry plants growing in mounds. We raced to see who could pick the most berries. There was no way to hide my then three-year-old’s strawberry-stained face, hands, and belly, and truth be told all of us had eaten our fair share in the field. I offered to pay for what we’d eaten, and the clerk made me a customer for life when she laughed and said it was all part of the experience.

There are no words to describe how alive I felt that day.

It was then I realized what a sheltered life I’d lived in the big city. It was then that I developed my sustained mad crush on local farms, farm stands, farmers, and the generosity of Oregon itself. That day goes down as one of the best in my life, and it changed me forever.

As the summer moved along and for many summers afterward we U-picked cherries, raspberries, blueberries, and Oregon’s famous Marionberries. Wonder-filled memories were made through the years, from the gathering of the berries to the lovely things we made and ate from them.

Fun Dessert Duo: Strawberry Sorbet + Strawberry Ice Cream

The only thing better than ice cream for dessert is ice cream and sorbet for dessert! Making them with the same fruit makes a beautifully balanced contrast of color, tanginess, sweetness, creaminess and frostiness.

This type of dessert duo is one of my entertaining go-to’s. The frozen desserts can be made in advance– a big win for any host! There is something show-stopping about serving the two this way.

I like to serve my ice cream/sorbet duos with some type of cookie, often a shortbread or something nutty. This time I made my Rustic + Lovely Hazelnut Meringue Cookies.

Frozen strawberry treats with hazelnut meringue cookies
Strawberry sorbet and strawberry dairy free ice cream

Strawberry Sorbet and Strawberry Ice Cream Duo (Dairy-Free)

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Pacific Northwest
Keyword: easy, frozen strawberry desserts, no-cook
Season: Evergreen (April – July)
Dietary: Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free
Prep Time: 30 minutes
30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8
Author: Pam Spettel
The only thing better than ice cream for dessert is ice cream and sorbet for dessert! Making them with the same fruit makes a beautifully balanced contrast of color, tanginess, sweetness, creaminess and frostiness. This type of frozen dessert duo is one of my entertaining go-to's. The frozen desserts can be made in advance– a big win for the host! There is something show-stopping about serving it this way.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Strawberry Sorbet Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. strawberries, hulled and quartered (about 5 ½ cups)
  • 2 small lemons, divided
  • ¾ – 1 cup sugar depending on the ripeness of the berries)
  • 1 pinch salt

Dairy-Free Strawberry Ice Cream Ingredients

  • 10 oz. strawberries, hulled and quartered, divided (about 2 ½ cups)
  • 1 13.6 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ – ⅔ cup honey depending the the ripeness of the berries
  • ½ tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 drops almond extract (optional)
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

Instructions

Strawberry Sorbet Instructions

  • Prepare (hull and quarter) strawberries and set aside.
  • In a food processor, process ½ small lemon with sugar, pulsing and whirring until the lemon is in tiny even bits and fully incorporated into the sugar.
    lemon and sugar in food processor
  • Add the strawberries, the juice of 1 ½ lemons, and the salt. Process until the strawberries are completely pureed, stopping to scrape the sides a few times to incorporate all of the sugar mixture.
    strawberry sorbet mixture in food processor
  • For best results, chill the sorbet mixture at least one hour or up to overnight. (It will freeze better in an ice cream maker if it is chilled, or you can make it ahead to this step and freeze the mixture the next day.) Freeze according to your ice cream maker directions. For soft-serve, serve right away. For a firmer scoop, store in the freezer for an hour before serving.

Dairy-Free Strawberry Ice Cream Instructions

  • Reserve about ⅓ of the hulled and quartered strawberries. Add all remaining ingredients (⅔ of the berries through lemon juice) to a food processor and process until smooth.
  • Add the reserved ⅓ strawberries to the mixture in the processor, and pulse a few times to break them up into bits and chunks.
  • For best results, chill the ice cream mixture at least one hour or up to overnight. (It will freeze better in an ice cream maker if it is chilled, or you can make it ahead to this step and freeze the mixture the next day.) Freeze according to your ice cream maker directions. For soft-serve, serve right away. For a firmer scoop, store in the freezer for an hour before serving.

Notes

Plan ahead if you are making these both at once. If you are using a Cuisinart-style tabletop ice cream maker you will either need two freezer inserts or you will need time to refreeze your insert. 

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6 Comments

  1. Nancy Stamm says

    You write so beautifully. Thank you for making my tummy rumble!

  2. Pingback: Rustic + Lovely: Hazelnut Meringue Cookies | 101-Mile Kitchen

  3. Lois Parker says

    The sorbet and DF ice cream were very easy to make using my Cuisinart food processor and ice cream maker. One small problem I had is that the texture of the coconut milk ice cream is grainy– like there are flakes of coconut in it. It almost looked like the “milk” had curdled when I put the 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in, and they did not go away with more processing. It does taste fine, but I wish it were smoother. Any thoughts?

    • Well, that doesn’t sound at all nice! I’m glad the flavor was enjoyable, but the texture and look counts just as much. Let’s troubleshoot this together.

      I have used coconut milk with citrus juice in recipes many times and have not had curdling happen. My first thought goes to the temperature of the can of coconut milk. When the temperatures here are on the cooler side coconut milk fats separate from the coconut liquid. If it’s to all be scooped into a pan and heated no big deal. If it’s to be used in it’s emulsified form I sometimes put the can in my toaster oven a few minutes to melt the fats and then give it a good shake to blend it together. No matter the ambient temperature, I always give the can a good shake before opening to make sure the contents are blended.

      When I developed this recipe the temps were warm so the contents shook up without any additional warming, and the berries I added were at room temperature— not cooling the fats further.

      In doing some research, I learned this: “If your recipe calls for acidic ingredients such as lemon or lime juice, add them last. The acidity actively denatures your coconut milk’s proteins, making it much more likely the milk will curdle.” Another source says, “Not all non-dairy milks will curdle when lemon juice or white vinegar is added. Coconut milk will actually not curdle when any kind of acid is added.” Very differing opinions! An example of a recipe I regularly make that I adds lime juice to coconut milk is this one: https://101milekitchen.com/2021/03/04/healing-chickpea-orzo-bowl-in-ginger-broth/. With this recipe the coconut milk is gently heated, allowing the fats, proteins and other components to emulsify. There’s a significant amount of citric acid added with the juice of three limes and not once has it curdled.

      That takes me back to the temperature issue. Do you recall if your coconut milk was separated into the white fat and the clearish liquid, or was it one soft white mass? If the two were separated, and then perhaps cold strawberries were added, I can see the fats separating from the liquid, perhaps causing a curdling-looking effect. Other research indicates that additional stirring with bring it all back together.

      Please let me know about the temperature of both your coconut milk and your berries. If they were cool/cold before processing them together, that might be the answer. If not, then I will do another trial this week and see what I can learn.

      My aim is to create solidly reliable recipes, and whatever we learn may cause at the very least some additional notes to be added to the recipe to help ensure the perfect result for others. Thank you for sharing your experience. Home cooking as all about continuous improvement based on variables and learnings! I appreciate you, Lois, for letting me know.

      • Lois Parker says

        Dear Pam,
        Thanks for your thoughtful response. Just FYI, I live in Minneapolis and am a friend of Tammy’s– we are in the same book club and knitting group– so I have heard lots of good things about you since you two got connected.

        Back to the DF strawberry ice cream. The can of coconut milk was at room temperature when I used it (and it was quite warm in the house), but the berries came straight from the fridge since I had made the sorbet the previous day and had saved a portion of them over night in order to allow the bowl of the ice cream maker to refreeze. I haven’t worked with coconut milk before and didn’t shake the can before adding the contents, so perhaps it was separated. I didn’t take note of that. And the lemon juice went into the mix at the very beginning with all the rest of the ingredients. Now I can see why I ended up with the grainy texture, so it is no reflection on the recipe. Perhaps a note about these issues could be included to help others avoid this problem. We are certainly eating the ice cream because the flavor is great, and I like having a scoop of the sorbet along with the ice cream.

        Thanks again for your interesting, well written recipes and photos.
        Lois Parker

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