Raw ice cream is a version of the classic dessert that is made without cooking the ingredients. This often is done to accommodate a raw food or vegan diet in which the normal methods of making ice cream, along with the standard ingredients, fall outside the realm of what foods are allowed. There are two common ways to make raw ice cream, with the first relying on water or another liquid to freeze and create the solid, frozen texture for the other ingredients. The second method uses a blender or food processor to essentially whip frozen fruits such as bananas into something with an ice cream consistency. Processed sugars and sweeteners are not usually added to raw ice cream and are instead replaced with items such as maple syrup, nectars or sweet fruits such as dates.
The first method of creating raw ice cream actually resembles the process used to make water ice. Ingredients such as berries and other fruits are combined with a small amount of water and crushed together or blended in a food processor. A natural sweetener such as agave nectar, beet root or maple syrup is mixed into the water along with any additional flavorings. The mixture is placed in a bowl, covered or sealed and placed in a freezer, with the contents being stirred regularly to prevent a solid block of ice from forming. The end result is a container full of a semi-creamy raw ice cream that can be served like sorbet, although it is prone to melting quickly.
The second method of making raw ice cream yields a result that looks more like traditional ice cream and uses frozen bananas or other starchy fruits. Bananas are sliced and then frozen for a few hours. Then they are placed in a blender or food processor and mixed until they form a paste. Once the paste is formed, ingredients such as sweeteners, diced fruits or cacao powder can be added. The mixture is then whipped in a food processor until enough air has been incorporated into the paste to make it light, fluffy and creamy.
Whichever method is used to make raw ice cream, once it is placed in the freezer it is important that the mixture not be allowed to set without being agitated a few times first. This means stirring the mix, shaking the container vigorously, using an ice cream maker, or scraping the mix to create loose ice crystals. If this is not done regularly until the raw ice cream has set, then the result will be a solid block that will be too hard to scoop and serve while frozen.