Friday, August 24, 2012


Best Blog Tips

This is the third summer in a row that I have tackled Peruvian lucuma ice cream, vegan-style:

Take #1, 2010:

Take #2, 2011:

Lucuma is a Peruvian fruit and, as many of you may know, my father was Peruvian. I remember lucuma ice cream from my three months in Peru as a six-year-old. Lucuma is a fruit with a quite dry texture, so it is mostly used to make a delectable, rich ice cream. Lucuma itself is rather sweet and has a butterscotch-y sort of flavor. When I was in Vancouver in August 2010, I found a store with Peruvian foods and bought some frozen lucuma puree-- what a coup, I thought!

Now, ideally, I would use the pulp of the fresh fruit, but it's hard to come by lucuma fruit on Vancouver Island. So, I was thrilled to find a bag of frozen lucuma pulp and I set about working out a recipe using it.  Here is what I wrote in 2010: "I worked out a recipe based on my vanilla gelato recipe made with Instant Clearjel, with the help of a (non-vegan) recipe from the internet. After splattering the kitchen with soy cream after a little accident (Mercury is in retrograde-- what can I say?), I made the mix and tasted it-- WAY too sweet!! I couldn't figure it out! My gelato is not as sweet as most, and I had used less sweetener than the non-vegan recipe called for (in relation to the volume of liquid, etc.). So, I got out my (new, under-used) reading glasses and read the small print on the bag of lucuma puree-- sugar! I had been assuming that it was unsweetened, since the label did not say 'sweetened' and the recipes I found online all called for unsweetened puree. My mistake!" (Read the rest of the adventure here.)

I ended up making a pretty successful batch after that one, with no sugar in it.  But, unfortunately, I knew that I would not be able to order lucuma pulp (sweetened or not) on the internet, so I wanted to find an alternative.  The obvious was lucuma powder. It seems that lucuma is all the rage in the raw foods community and is even used as a natural sweetener. I found some at a good price from this Canadian vendor, and ordered 2 lbs for future experiments. In August of 2011 I developed a recipe for the ice cream using the lucuma powder. It was pretty tasty, but, of course, not as good as that made with the fruit itself.

The other day I decided to use up my last bit of the sweetened lucuma puree in my freezer and make the ice cream without nondairy creamer in it.  Because I used plain, unsweetened soymilk and no creamer, I ended up adding just 2 tablespoons of agave nectar. The recipe is simple to make and I thought the texture was great.  The taste was good and we certainly enjoyed it, but I am still on the trail of a vegan, North American version with real authentic Peruvian flavor-- I'll have to track down some unsweetened puree and use more of it, but, next, I'll try using more lucuma powder and I have a few ideas up my sleeve. (If you've used these products with any success, I'd love to hear about it!)  Stay tuned!

Printable Recipe

Servings: 12
Yield: 6 cups

3 cups unsweetened nondairy milk of choice (I used a commercial almond milk)
1 1/2 cups sweetened lucuma pulp/puree
1 cup raw cashews or cashew pieces, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes and drained
(if allergic to nuts, use 3/4 cup more nondairy milk and 2 tablespoons oil)
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
 or vanilla paste

3/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons Instant Clearjel®
 OR 1/8 tsp. guar gum or xanthan gum
(see below about Instant Clearjel® )

Place the milk, and lucuma puree into a blender along with the soaked, drained cashews, and blend until VERY smooth and frothy (make sure that it is not grainy at all).

Mix all of the remaining ingredients, into this mixture and blend again until it is VERY smooth .

Chill the mixture thoroughly, and then freeze according to directions for your ice cream machine. Scoop into a quart plastic container, cover and freeze for several hours (preferably 24 hours) before serving.

In this recipe, DO NOT use the regular Clearjel® meant for making jam and pies and needs to be cooked.  Instant Clearjel® does NOT need to be cooked.  It is carried on and King Arthur Flour for US customers. It has been available in Canada primarily from baking supply wholesalers, but,  good news for Canadians-- finally carries Instant Clearjel®! (Make sure you add a note to your order specifying that you want INSTANT Clearjel®.) According to their website, Gourmet Warehouse in Vancouver, BC carries it, too, but I'm not sure if they do mail order (their website is under construction right now).
For information about these thickeners, see (According to this source and others, Instant Clearjel® and Ultra Gel® are both NON-GMO.)



Anonymous said...

The cost of lucuma where I am is prohibitive. Is there another fruit that could be substituted please.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

There is nothing else that tastes like lucuma, I'm afraid.