Autumn Ice Cream And Other Seasonal Treats


Enjoying The Final Fruits Of Fall

Oil pear painting by Norma Wilson

Our farmers market is overflowing with apples, pears, plums, and even a few late peaches. The final fruits of fall taste especially sweet, perhaps because their sugars are concentrated as they ripen and plants begin to shut down for winter. I am delighting in a flat of late local raspberries, probably the last of the season, which taste like drops of magic elixir. Some I froze quickly, arranging them on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Once frozen, they can be stored in tightly sealed containers for several months to brighten holiday dishes and desserts.

Others I made variously into ice cream, raspberry crisp, and muffins, all of which are extremely eatable. I tried pear ice cream but found the texture dubious, though both an apple pear and a peach-pear crumble were delectable. I did come up with a vegan version of fruity ice cream that is lush, rich, and toothsome. It’s based on coconut milk, which performs far better than the nut milks I tried first (kind of icky, sadly).

From Sweet To Spicy And Back Again

I’ve also been roasting everything from kale and cabbage wedges to green tomatoes and Brussels sprouts. Apples and pears both caramelize deliciously when roasted and can be seasoned with sweet or spicy variations that are equally pleasing. Tempted? Here are some autumnal recipes to start you off on your own explorations!

Raspberry Vegan Ice Cream

2 cups mashed ripe raspberries (peaches, etc.)
2/3 cups sugar (or to taste)
tiny pinch sea salt
2 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, combine mashed fruit, sugar, and salt and let stand for at least 10 minutes. (For fullest flavor, cover and refrigerate overnight.) Add the coconut milk, stir well and add vanilla to taste. Freeze in an ice cream maker for at least an hour, then let stand for a few minutes before serving. Makes about 3 cups.

Vegan Crisps And Crumbles

Most fruit crisps and crumbles rely on butter to make a crunchy, delectable topping. So far, a blend of fruit butter, coconut oil, and honey is the best substitution I’ve found. (Nut butters are yummy too but tend to overwhelm all the other flavors.)

Vegan Apple-Pear Crumble

2 Braeburn or any dessert apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 Bosch or Bartlett pears, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup roasted almonds or walnuts, chopped
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup apple butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil (solid)
2-3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to bake 350 degrees F. Layer fruit into a medium (8- or 9-inch) baking pan, sprinkle with brown sugar, set aside. Blend nuts and oats with apple butter, coconut oil, honey, and spices. 1/4 cup soft butter with oats, Sprinkle evenly over fruit and bake at 350 until tender (40-50 minutes). Serve warm. Serves at least one.

Roasted Fruit, Sweet And Spicy

You can ring changes on these basic recipes by using different fruit, oils, and/or spices. So far, all have been lovely and eaten with yummy noises (always a good sign).

Savory Roasted Apple Rings

2 Braeburn, Cox, or any dessert apples, cored
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon curry powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice apples into rings (1/2 inch thick) and rub with oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake at 400 degrees until the edges are lightly caramelized (20-25 minutes). While still hot, gently toss with smoked paprika and curry powder and serve warm. Lovely with roasted vegetables or curried anything. Serves 4.

Spicy Roasted Pears

1 tablespoon rice or safflower oil
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 Bartlett or Bosch pears, cored and quartered lengthwise
2 teaspoons sugar (any kind)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Blend oil with spices on a rimmed baking sheet, add pears and gently toss with your hands to coat evenly. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 400 degrees until the edges are lightly caramelized (20-25 minutes). Serve warm with ice cream or fresh raspberries. Serves 4.

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