I thought that this week I'd go for something a lot more fitting weather-wise. ICE CREAM. Well, maybe it's ice cream but it doesn't involve cream, eggs or even cornstarch. Technically it should have one of those names that brands have to use when they make sketchy diet ice cream and call it 'frozen dessert'. But, uhhh, that's not an incredibly appetising name.
Let's stick with ice cream.
Chia seeds have become somewhat of a trend recently (I say recently but it's been over a year. It takes a while for these types of trends to reach the UK). I've never been a fan of them due to the slimy texture they take on once soaked in liquid. They absorb water and swell to form a gel which thickens whatever liquid they're in. Still, no matter how much fruit or flaked coconut you throw on that shiz it'll always look like my worst nightmare.
This year I've noticed that people have been exploiting the properties of the seeds to thicken mixtures and create jam, fruit curds and pudding. Some of these types of recipes involved soaking and then blending them to create a smooth and creamy texture. Sounded much more like my cup of tea!
As ice cream base is pretty much flavoured custard, and custard = pudding, I saw no reason why I couldn't make a smooth chocolate chia pudding and then churn it in an ice cream maker. And guess what!? It TOTALLY worked. Yeah okay you didn't have to guess that because there are pictures and a blog post. Even my mum, a chia pudding sceptic like me, said that it was the 'Best chia has ever tasted!'.
The even greater news is that those little seeds are super good for you (as you've probably heard x100) so if you're missing out on eating them because of the texture thing, you don't have to any more! As always, chocolate saves the day.
Chocolate Chia Ice Cream!
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 2/3 cup milk (2%, cashew, almond or coconut work well)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
4 pitted medjool dates
Optional: chocolate curls, cacao nibs for serving
- Stir all the ingredients (except for the dates) together in a medium jug until completely combined. Stir in the dates then chill the mixture overnight (or for at least four hours).
- Pour the soaked mixture into a high powered blender and blitz until completely smooth. The mixture should be thick and creamy. Transfer the mixture back to the jug and chill until you're ready to churn it.
- Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions. Transfer the churned mixture to a lidded container and freeze until firm enough to scoop. Serve with chocolate curls (created using a peeler on a bar of chocolate) and cacao nibs if you want!