There are few foods I love more than fresh sweet cherries, so when I heard that the trees at Hollin Farms, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, were ripe and ready for picking this past weekend, I dropped all other plans I had for Saturday morning and took the hour drive with Lily the Labrador and Mr. Gutsy to get a gallon. I love eating them straight out of hand, but they are also fun to play around with in recipes – both savory and sweet. This creamy concoction is a dairy free “ice cream” that can be enjoyed by people following a variety of dietary protocols, including the Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP), the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and its cousin the GAPS diet, and by anyone who just wants something sweet without any added sugar.
Notes on equipment
I used to have this ice cream maker, but recently replaced it with this attachment for my KitchenAid mixer when I was on a kick to eliminate as many uni-taskers as possible and clear out some storage space. It’s OK, but honestly I find it kind of cumbersome to work with and wish I’d kept the dedicated ice cream machine.
If you have a lot of fresh cherries to deal with, a gizmo like this that pits four at once will make your life much easier. It is a uni-tasker as well (and one I only use once a year on top of that) but I’m really glad I didn’t purge it when I did the ice cream maker!
Notes on ingredients
If you aren’t in the situation of needing to use an overabundance of fresh cherries like I was, know that this recipe will work just fine with frozen cherries.
Technically speaking, vanilla extract in an uncooked recipe like this one is not AIP-compliant. Personally, I feel comfortable consuming it anyway because the amount is so small – and I like the way the alcohol keeps the ice cream just a little bit soft as it freezes. If you don’t want to make that exception, feel free to leave it out or use a teaspoon of vanilla powder instead.
Coconut milk… hands down, this is my favorite brand. It contains no added ingredients and is in a convenient and BPA-free package. Unless you are going to make your own, this is the very best option for all your coconut milk needs. Look for it in Asian markets, or order it online. My friends at ShopAIP consistently have the best price (and it is a great place to get other high quality foods for your elimination protocol).
Dairy-Free Cherry Ice Cream Recipe
- 3 cups coconut milk
- 8 soft medjool dates, pits removed
- 2 cups cherries, pits removed
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (optional)
- In a high speed blender, combine coconut milk, dates, 1 cup of the cherries, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Blend until very smooth.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour, or as long as necessary for the mixture to get very cold (I just put the whole blender jar in the refrigerator overnight).
- Rough chop the remaining cherries.
- Churn the coconut milk mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. At the end of the churning time, add the remaining cherries.
- Transfer to a glass bowl or other container with lid and place in freezer for one hour before serving.
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