“I felt my heart crack slowly like a pomegranate, spilling its seeds.” ~ from A Horse Named Sorrow by Trebor Healey (contemporary American poet and novelist)
Do you remember the first time you tried a food when you were a child and totally flipped for it, like love at first sight? When I was in the 4th grade, my teacher brought in a pomegranate to give all her students a taste and over 50 years later, I still think of her whenever I see one. The cracking of the skin and the flow of the bright red juice a little bit of magic.
Technically, the pomegranate is a berry that grows on a very tall bush, and is found fresh in stores during its ripe season, September – March. Like his morning, piled up at the front of the market in the autumn sun. Who could resist?
Of course, in the 1960’s, we didn’t know the pomegranate was a superfood that is higher in antioxidants than any other fruit, lowers blood pressure, reduces atherosclerosis, inhibits the growth of some cancers, and improves symptoms of depression. We just liked it! The extra-good news is that the juice carries nearly the same health benefits as the fruit – without the aggravation of those pesky little seeds.
Recently, we ran out of our usual non-dairy milk, so I made some by throwing ¼ cup of raw cashews and 2 cups of water into the blender. Run it on highest speed until completely smooth, about 2 minutes, and there you have it. Some recipes call for pre-soaking the nuts when making nut milks, but I haven’t found that to be necessary with raw cashews. It certainly got me where I needed to be concerning a cup of cocoa!
While sipping that cup of cocoa, it occurred to me that blending cashews with some non-dairy milk would make an excellent heavy cream in recipes. Non-dairy creamer is pricey, so for me this moment was somewhere in the same category as Galileo figuring out that gravity accelerates all falling objects at the same rate. J That was when my thoughts turned to using the new-found creamer because what good is a great discovery if you can’t use it?
We promise you won’t miss the cow’s involvement in this especially creamy frozen treat – which, by the way, is superb with just about any autumn fruit pie you are serving and might even be good for you.
Pomegranate Iced Creamy
NEED: Blender and an ice cream maker
Time: 10 minutes to prepare base + processing time
Makes: 1 quart
3 cups hemp milk (or other non-dairy milk)
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
½ cup raw cashew pieces
1 cup 100% pure pomegranate juice
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons vodka (optional – do not use if children or those with objections to alcohol will be consuming)
Mix ¼ cup of the milk in a small bowl with the arrowroot powder and set aside.
Puree the raw cashews with the remaining 2 ¾ cups milk in a blender container at highest speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the blended milk, pomegranate juice, and sugar. Warm over medium-low heat until it just comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the arrowroot mixture to thicken. Stir in the vanilla.
Some ice cream makers require that the mixture be chilled prior to processing. Proceed according to manufacturer’s directions. Toward the end of processing, I like to add 2 tablespoons of vodka so that the mixture remains spoon-able on freezing – it doesn’t alter the flavor. Turn into a suitable container and store in the freezer until ready to serve.