Monday, September 28, 2015

Pumpkin Pecan Kefir Ice Cream

Fall is here!  Leaves are turning, the temperature is cooler and pumpkins are decorating the front porches all along my neighborhood.  This is the time of year that I begin to crave the flavors of autumn and pumpkin is one of my favorites.  This creamy frozen dessert is a real treat!  The best part is that it's low carb, dairy-free, full of beneficial live probiotic cultures, provides healthy fats and is unbelievably DELICIOUS!  Start by making a batch of coconut milk kefir (see my earlier post), then flavor the plain kefir before putting it into your ice cream maker.  The result is a healthy dessert worthy of any occasion that the whole family will enjoy.

Pumpkin Pecan Kefir Ice Cream
Makes 8 servings (1/2 cup each)

3 cups plain, unsweetened, coconut milk kefir (click here for directions)
1 tablespoon butter, ghee or non-dairy butter substitute
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tiny pinches of salt, divided
1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée 
1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used flax milk, but substitute with your favorite)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
10 drops liquid English Toffee Stevia (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
5 drops liquid Vanilla Creme Stevia
1/4 teaspoon 100% Stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  A day or two ahead, make a batch of homemade, plain, coconut milk kefir using full-fat coconut milk (not coconut milk beverage).  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.  (If desired, you may use purchased plain, unsweetened kefir, but the nutritional information will be different and the resulting ice cream will not be non-dairy.)

2.  In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter, ghee or non-dairy butter substitute.  Add 1/3 cup chopped pecans and cook over low heat until pecans are fragrant and lightly toasted.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of LaKanto Golden Monkfruit Sweetener, a tiny pinch of salt and stir to coat.  Remove from heat, transfer pecans and any liquid into a bowl and set aside at room temperature to cool.

3.  Place 3 cups of plain, unsweetened kefir into a blender. Add 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, 1 teaspoon Lakanto Golden Monkfruit Sweetener, 1 teaspoon molasses, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, liquid Stevia drops, 1/4 teaspoon stevia powder, a tiny pinch of salt and vanilla extract. Blend to combine and taste. Add more Stevia drops or powder, if desired, until desired sweetness is achieved.  Refrigerate mixture for about an hour before proceeding.

4.  Follow the directions from your ice cream maker.  Pour the pumpkin-kefir mixture into the ice cream maker and churn until thickened and beginning to set.  Add the pecans and reserved liquid from the bowl into the ice cream and continue churning until desired consistency is reached.  Serve immediately soft-set or pour into a container and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.*

* Important Note: This kefir ice cream needs to be eaten while in a soft-set stage.  If allowed to freeze completely, the ice cream will be too firm to scoop.  Any extra ice cream can be frozen in individual ice pop molds and served later as a creamy ice pop.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup serving: 179 calories, 4.9 g carbohydrate (0.9 g dietary fiber, 2.7 g sugars, 1.2 g sugar alcohols), 17.4 g total fat (10.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 4 mg cholesterol, 34 mg sodium, 35.4 mg calcium, 70 mg potassium, 1.3 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 4 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015.

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