Pistachio is one of my favourite ice cream flavours. It’s a flavour that is not available at every ice cream parlour and at some it is more expensive than regular ice cream. But I would absolutely pay the extra price if there were vegan pistachio ice cream options available. But they are not, at least not here in Dresden. Here in Dresden vegan ice cream is a sad, sad business. You can choose from either sorbets or really, really bad chocolate and vanilla soy ice creams. Oh, or you can just choose another sorbet.

Ice cream is important and I want good ice cream. Also, did I already tell you how much I hate bananas in an ice cream recipe? Really, I cannot stand banana ice cream and if it were me, that stuff wouldn’t be called “nice cream”. It would be called what it is. Frozen banana mush. Yeah, turns out I am an ice cream snob. And that is probably because I grew up in a tiny village with no ice cream parlour anywhere. If we wanted ice cream, we had to wait for the little ice cream car that drove through our street during the summer months. That car came almost every evening and announced itself with a loud and funny car horn. The man who sold the ice cream always opened back doors of the car as soon as the kids from the neighbourhood came running out of their houses. He had about eight different flavours in there and none of them was pistachio. Instead he sold the basic and solid varieties like lemon, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, stracciatella, etc.

For us kids that was more than enough. That ice cream usually was the perfect ending to a long summer day that we had spent outside alone, just strolling through the village and its surrounding nature. To me eating an ice cream was part of that freedom we had at home.

We live in a city and I often miss this freedom for my kid. She always has to watch cars and she’s yet to small to walk around alone. But her freedom is probably the huge (non-vegan) selection of ice cream flavours she can get here. Her recent favourites include cinnamon, cappucchino, and of course pistachio. And while I think it’s unfair that she cannot grow up in the countryside, I also think it’s unfair that my vegan ice cream choices are so limited. But not today. Today I have had a huge serving of really good homemade pistachio ice cream. And I am gonna share it with you no matter if you live in a tiny village or a large city.


This ice has only four ingredients and is soy- and gluten-free.

To reduce the costs a bit (over here nut prices are ridiculous at the moment), I bought two bags of unshelled pistachios (250 grams each) and shelled them myself until I had about 180 grams (1 1/2 cups). It doesn’t matter if your pistachios are salted or not, you will have to soak them over night and if you rinse them the next day, the salt will have washed off.

The ice cream will harden in the freezer and it can be hard to scoop. But if you take it out about 30 minutes before serving you will be fine. 

vegan pistachio ice cream (4 ingredients) #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree

Pistachio Ice Cream


180 g (1 1/2 cups) shelled pistachios, soaked for about 8 hours
480 ml (2 cups) almond milk
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or 1 tablespoon rum)


Rinse and drain the pistachios.

Add all ingredients to a blender.

Blend until smooth.

Place in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

Churn the liquid in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer to an airtight container and let freeze for at least three more hours before serving.
vegan pistachio ice cream (4 ingredients) #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree









Last year, when my father visited us in Dresden, he brought a box of strawberries from a grocery store around the corner. “Those aren’t good. You should not buy them,” I said. He tasted a berry and replied that they weren’t too bad. “But they are terrible compared to those we can get at home in our village!” I guess ten kilograms of childhood memories came out with that sentence. When we were children my dad would buy fresh strawberries on Sundays. Sometimes we helped him wash and slice them, sometimes he would even let us whip the cream. Nothing was better than those fresh strawberries. We ate them straight from the plant if we got the chance. For example during our bike rides, when we picked some at the edge of a field. Or when we emptied the patches in our neighbour’s garden. All these memories came back when I told my father that the strawberries here in the city weren’t good. He disagreed. He told me that the fruits back home weren’t that much better anymore. He even thought they were worse. I didn’t believe a word of what he said. That simply couldn’t be true.

During this years Pentecost vacation F and I made a trip to my parents’ place. My father picked us up from the main station in Bremen. On our car ride to my parents’ village, we drove by several strawberry fields. I got exited and mentioned something about eating them for breakfast every day. My father said I should probably find something else to eat. They had changed the breed a couple of years ago, he elaborated. Those berries weren’t worth the trouble anymore. Yes, they kept well but most of the flavour was gone. Why would he say that? Some weird berry conspiracy theory? Did he not remember how we all loved to eat strawberries together? That he always would pick them up for us? The next day F and I prepared lunch. Suddenly my father stepped into the kitchen with a box of strawberries in his hand. I smiled. I told F that this would make such a wonderful dessert. Then I looked at the strawberries. They looked very pale. I  asked my father, “Why did you bring these? Were the good ones sold out?” “No,” he replied. “They do all look like that now. I thought that if you tasted them you would finally believe me.” I was still in denial. I gave one to my daughter. “Taste it! The best strawberries you can get.” She tasted and then looked at me disgusted. I said: “But those are good.” It wasn’t true. I didn’t believe what I just said. I think I just wanted to share an important childhood memory with my daughter. But there was nothing to share. I was disappointed and those strawberries were just pale, sour, and watery.

Okay, okay. Maybe this is all in my head. Maybe I am turning into one of these “everything was better in the old days” person now. Or maybe it was just the beginning of the season and I need to give those strawberries some more time to grow. There are other childhood memories to share or to improve. Like my relationship with rhubarb. This vegetable/fruit was something I mostly ignored when I was a kid. At least when it came to baked goods.  Our neighbours made tons of rhubarb cakes and many grown ups tried to trick me into liking it. They pretended it was great in desserts. They pretended it was sweet. But it wasn’t. There was never enough sugar in those cakes and a kilogram of whipped cream could not change that. Back then I thought those neighours wanted us to give up our sweet tooth. But that wasn’t true. Nobody tricked us. Rhubarb was something we did not appreciate very much.  We spent our afternoons stuffing our face with strawberries instead.

rhubarb compote |

Now that those strawberries are disenchanted I can finally appreciate the tartness of rhubarb. It’s now my daughter who refuses to eat it. But you can make very sugary things from rhubarb, too. Sugar can be used as a preservative, for example in jams. Or syrups.They are very simple to make and they can be kept in the fridge for 1 or 2 weeks. I made a batch for my ice cream recipe, but it’s also a base for refreshing lemonade. (Simply dillute it with (sparkling) water.) If you want something tarter, rhubarb compote is a great choice, depending on how much sugar you add. For my ice cream I didn’t use too much sugar, but if you want to pair the compote with oatmeal or grießpudding, you can double the amount of sugar used. Just adjust it to your taste.

rhubarb syrup |

There are a couple of wonderful methods to make vegan ice cream, but I like to try something new from time to time. I admit it’s definitely not the easiest and fastest method to make ice cream. But I’ll also talk about a couple of  shortcuts in a minute. This version calls for whipped chickpea brine (called aquafaba), which improves the texture a lot and makes the ice cream light and easy to scoop. In fact, even after over a week in the freezer, this batch still had a consistency similar to soft serve. Since we’re  without an ice cream machine rightn now, I used my blender method for this recipe. That is a bit involved, but it will produce similar results to ice cream from a machine.

If you thing this all sounds to complicated, I have a couple of ideas for you: You can leave out the aquafaba and make this into a “regular” coconut based ice cream. You can also use an ice cream machine, if you have one. If you wanto to use a machine and include the whipped aquafaba, churn the coconut milk and syrup mixture  and fold in the whipped chickpea liquid once the machine is done. Then proceed to freeze it, add the compote, and freeze until solid. If you don’t have an ice cream machine or a blender, make a simple semifreddo by combining the coconut milk and syrup mixture and the compote. Pour it into a container and freeze it until solid. Instead of scooping it out, you can slice it for serving. Another tip is to split up the workload and prepare both the syrup and the compote a day in advance.

Rhubarb Ice Cream


rhubarb syrup recipe only very slightly adapted from this recipe
For the syrup
500 g (4 cups) sliced rhubarb
240 ml (1 cup) water
250 g (1 1/4 cups) sugar
juice from 1/2 lemon
vanilla seeds scraped from 1 bean
For the compote
200 g (1 2/3 cups) sliced rhubarb
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
For the ice cream
1 400 ml can full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or canola oil
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
240 ml (1 cup) rhubarb syrup (see above)
60 ml (1/4 cup) brine from a can of chickpeas
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
a splash of lemon juice
1/2 a batch of rhubarb compote (see above)


To make the syrup, combine sliced rhubarb and water in a small pot.

Bring to a boil and cook until the rhubarb falls apart, about 5-10 minutes.

Strain the liquid through a fine sieve and pour back into the (cleaned!) pot. (Discard the rhubarb pulp left in the sieve.)

Add sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla.

Boil for 10 minutes and make sure the mixture doesn't boil over.

Let cool and pour into a sterilized jar. (Store leftovers in the fridge for up to two weeks.)

To make the compote, combine rhubarb and sugar in a small pot and bring to a boil.

Cook until the rhubarb falls apart.

Set aside and let cool completely.

To make the ice cream, combine coconut milk, oil, and sugar in a bowl and whisk. Add syrup and whisk again.

Transfer to a shallow container such as a brownie pan and place in the freezer.

Freeze for 2-3 hours, or until mostly solid.

Once the coconut milk mixture is frozen, combine the chickpea brine and the remaining sugar.

Whip the mixture with a hand held mixer or in a stand mixer until very stiff. This may take up to 10 minutes. You can add a splash of lemon juice to speed up the process.

Cut the frozen coconut milk mixture into smaller pieces and transfer to a high speed blender.

Blend until it has the consistency of soft serve.

Pour into the chickpea fluff and fold the fluff into the coconut mixture until everything is smooth. Make sure to do this slowly and carefully. You don't want the chickpea foam to collapse too much.

Pour into a container and freeze for another 2-3 hours.

Fold in the rhubarb compote and freeze until solid.

I swear, there are no bananas in this recipe! And I just lied. You might need a machine for this, just not an ice cream maker. Ours broke and at this point I think that we probably don’t need a new one. I found a perfect replacement. It’s our high speed blender.  “Those vegans and their fancy blenders!”, some of you might think now. And you are right. These gadgets are wickedly expensive and not essential to whatever you are making in your kitchen. But please don’t click away just yet. I have included a popsicle recipe you can make with a couple of pans, a hand held blender or food processor, and a freezer. (If you don’t have a food processor or hand held blender either, you can replace the walnuts with some nut butter of your choice.) Simply pour the ice cream batter (recipe follows at the bottom) into glasses, ice cube or popsicle molds,  let them sit in the freezer for about 1 – 2 hours, insert some sticks and let the popsicles firm up completely. Just that simple and quick! There’s just one little caveat:  Whatever anybody tells you, ice cream popsicles are not the same as ice cream. They will still be nice and refreshing, but they will not be perfectly smooth and creamy. They will be a little bit crunchy as some of the liquid will form large ice crystals during freezing. Since nobody is churning anything here, these crystals can’t be kept from forming and there’s no additional air stirred into the batter. But if you keep all this in mind, I think you will not be disappointed with these walnut caramel popsicles. After all they are a sweet treat, perfect for a warm spring day. And look at that hand model above. I got P. to help me with my pictures and hold that ice cream. But I am digressing.

walnut ice cream without ice cream maker |

For a perfectly smooth and light ice cream, you can either use my blender method, or you follow David Lebovitz’s instructions. For that you’ll need a hand held blender and a shallow container. If you want to follow my method, here’s how: You simply freeze your ice cream until solid. Then you cut it into cubes, about 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 inches), place it in a high speed blender that is capable of doing this hard job. Then you blend on high until your ice cream has the consistency of soft serve. After that you put it back into the freezer and let it firm up. This will result in an ice cream that has exactly the same texture as if it was made with an ice cream maker.

walnut ice cream without ice cream maker |

To be honest, it’s not only the blending method that makes for a good texture. I’ve experimented a lot and I used to think that fat was the most important ingredient to achieve a creamy texture. Well, sure, but it cannot do the work alone. In the past I would pair it up with a thickener and binder, such as guar gum. But that is not necessary and if you use too much, you’ll just end up with a box full of frozen slime. There’s a much better ingredient for creamy and perfect to scoop vegan ice cream.  And no it’s not a bunch of healthy bananas. It’s plain old sugar. (If you like bananas in your ice cream, please go ahead and use them! I freeze and blend some myself once in a while. I am not against frozen bananas. Just don’t make me believe a frozen banana pudding is the same as ice cream.) While you mix your batter, the sugar dissolves and during freezing much of it remains unfrozen. So if your ice cream is rock hard after a couple of days in the freezer, that might mean going low sugar is not always an option.

walnut ice cream without ice cream maker |

This recipe has lots of sugar and there’s a little extra trick making things even easier. With more sugar. If you add some caramel to your ice cream, it will improve the texture even more. That is, as long as you can abstain from eating it. (I managed a whole week. But that was only because I was sick.) And isn’t caramel ice cream just the best?

A couple of notes: For the ice cream pops you won’t need the whole batch of caramel. You can reserve it and serve as a sauce. (Keep in mind that the sugar will crystalise after a day or two though.) Yes, this ice cream calls for coconut milk. Coconut ice cream is great, but personally I don’t want all my vegan ice creams to taste like coconut. And since I am sure that some of you are with me here, I did my best to mask the taste. Of course, you have to judge for yourself, but we couldn’t detect any coconut flavour in this batch. I divided this recipe and used it both for the blender and the popsicle version. It’s embarrassing, but I cannot tell you how many popsicles this makes. The whole recipe yields about 6 cups. My glasses held about 1/3 cup. Thar means half the recipe should make about 9 popsicles.

walnut caramel |


Walnut Caramel Ice Cream (without ice cream maker)


For the caramel
150 g (3/4 cup) brown sugar
150 g (3/4 cup) white sugar
60 ml (1/4 cup) agave nectar
60 ml (1/4 cup) water
1 generous pinch of salt (up to 1/4 teaspoon for a salty caramel version)
60 ml (1/4 cup) full fat coconut milk
200 g (1 3/4 cup) walnut pieces, chopped
For the ice cream
480 ml (2 cups) soy milk (almond milk is fine, too)
1 400 ml (14 ounce) can of full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
walnut caramel (recipe above)
1-3 teaspoons of vanilla extract


To make the caramel, combine sugars, agave nectar, and water in a small saucepan.

Heat carefully while dissolving the sugar. Stop stirring immediately once the mixture starts to boil.

Simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in salt and coconut milk, bring back to a boil and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in walnut pieces, set aside and let cool completely.

To make the ice cream, combine milks, arrowroot, and salt in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute.

Reserve about 120 ml (1/2 cup) of walnut caramel and set aside. (You can store it in a glass jar until ready to use.)

Pour the remaining caramel in the pot with the milk. Stir until the caramel has dissolved.

Pour into a blender. (Food processor should work, too, hand held blender will also be fine.)

Add oil and vanilla (to taste), and process, until the mixture is creamy and all walnut pieces are pulverised.

If you are going for the popsicle version, simply pour the batter into shot glasses or popsicle molds and freeze until the batter is stiff enough to hold wooden sticks. Insert them and place in the freezer again until completely solid.

If you are going for the blender version, pour the liquid into a freezer suitable container and freeze until solid or over night.

Cut into small cubes, about 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 inch) and place in a high speed blender.

Blend until your mixture has the consistency of soft serve. Make sure not to overprocess or your ice cream will melt and you have to start over.

Transfer to the container, then to the freezer and freeze for another hour or so.

Your mixture should now be firm but you should still be able to stir it. (This will take one hour more or less, check your ice cream after 30 minutes. Or if necessary, let it sit for longer than an hour.)

Now pour the remaining caramel over the ice cream and quickly fold it in. Don't blend it completely, you are aiming for swirls.

Freeze for a couple of hours, or until firm.

Today we made a little walk and every time we passed an ice cream shop, we saw people lining up in really long queues. In Germany spring means ice cream. Unfortunately the vegan options are not that great, so I decided to make my own batch. I was very torn between my old favourite, the chocolate peanut butter ice cream from the now inactive browniepoints blog and a new flavour that was spinning around in my head. In the end curiosity won and I started to work on my own creation. But you should definitely try the chocolate peanut butter ice cream, it is really good.

My favourite ingredient for ice cream is coconut milk. It has a good amount of saturated fat, which adds great texture and a creamy and buttery taste. In combination with lime the result is something very similar to buttermilk ice cream: creamy, fresh and light. I added a bit of pectin as a thickening agent, but I am pretty sure you can make the ice cream without. I have said this before and I’ll say it again, you can make this ice cream without an ice cream maker. Simply place the mixture in your freezer and stir vigorously every hour until your ice cream is frozen. This will help to break down the ice crystals and add some air to your ice cream.

Coconut-Lime Ice Cream

120g/4.3 oz. firm tofu
1/2 cup lime juice
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pectin or 1/4 teaspoon guar gum (xanthan gum)
1 pinch salt
2 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon lime zest

In a blender or food processor, combine tofu and lime juice and blend well. Add sugar and blend again. Add pectin and blend until everything is combined well. Stir in salt, coconut milk, and lime zest. Place in the freezer for one hour. Transfer to your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

We served our ice cream with fresh coconut waffles.

Coconut Waffles (makes 5-6 regular waffles)

200 g (1 2/3 cups) all-purpose flour
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
50 g (1/4 cup) melted and cooled coconut oil
60 ml (1/4 cup) coconut milk
240 ml (1 cup) soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50 g (1/2 cup) dried, shredded coconut

In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well and add coconut oil, coconut milk, soy milk, and vanilla extract. Stir until combined and fold in coconut. Preheat waffle iron, brush with oil and cook according to waffle iron directions.