In my humble opinion, there are few things more enjoyable on a hot summer night (or afternoon, or morning..) than a few scoops of ice cream and a good book. And if you're like me, you probably want to make that ice cream yourself. So I've come up with this very simple -if not instantly gratifying- recipe for a cashew ice cream that will keep vegans and carnivores alike asking for more. The cashews don't really have too much of a flavor, other than a vaguely creamy-nutty hint. Sage and crystalized ginger balance each other perfectly, and the cocoa nibs add a truly satisfying crunch. If you really want to be decadent, top this with coconut whipped cream and a cherry!
Note: I recommend using organic nuts, as the nonorganic may be treated with icky pesticides. I know they're pricey, but I think it's worth it. You make the call yourself.
Place the cashews in a large jar and cover with filtered water. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight (highly recommend an overnight soak if you don't have a Vitamix or other high-powered blender.) Drain and rinse well.
Place the vanilla bean paste, scraped vanilla bean, chopped sage leaves, and milk of choice in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture is almost boiling. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes. Let cool. Pass through a fine mesh sieve.
Place the rinsed cashews, vanilla sage milk, sweetener, and 1 cup water in a blender or food processor and blend into a smooth creamy custard. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
Transfer to the bowl of your ice cream maker and freeze according to the instructions. Once the custard starts to thicken, add chopped ginger, sea salt, and cocoa nibs. Eat it right away or store in a freezer-safe container until snacking time! If it's frozen solid, let the ice cream thaw for 20+ minutes before digging in.
Rebecca Firkser is the assigning editor at Food52. She used to wear many hats in the food media world: food writer, editor, assistant food stylist, recipe tester (sometimes in the F52 test kitchen!), recipe developer. Her writing has appeared in TASTE, The Strategist, Eater, and Bon Appetit's Healthyish and Basically. She contributed recipes and words to the book "Breakfast: The Most Important Book About the Best Meal of the Day." Once upon a time, she studied theatre design and art history at Smith College, so if you need a last-minute avocado costume or want to talk about Wayne Thiebaud's cakes, she's your girl. You can follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.