OK, it looks like a house brick but in this case appearances are definitely deceiving as behind the dull facade lies a slab of chocolate ambrosia. This was another recipe that I saw in Vegetarian Living magazine that was taken from a book called Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy Free by Grace Cheetham. In my opinion the author missed a trick with this one, because she used honey rather than a vegan-friendly sweetener. OK, so her book isn't necessarily aimed at vegans, but to veganise this one was a no-brainer. One simple swap and voila, possibly the most delicious vegan chocolate ice cream I've ever tasted! I used agave nectar for its relatively neutral taste, but maple syrup would probably work really well too.
The recipe called it a semifreddo, which means "semi-frozen" in Italian. This is no soft-scoop ice cream but a rich, decadent and super-smooth slice of chocolate heaven. Despite the name, it sets rock solid in the freezer so you'll need to get it out a little while before serving in order to be able to slice it.
This semifreddo is extremely tasty with great mouth-feel, but you won't be able to scoff much of the stuff in one sitting (well, not without feeling poorly afterwards), so it's just as well that my halved recipe makes a relatively small amount. The original recipe said it served 10 and used a 450g loaf tin as a mould. I cut everything in half and used a cute mini loaf tin (one of a set of four that I got for a great price from TKMaxx) which was the absolute perfect size. The slices you get are quite small, so if there are more than two of you at home you'd probably do better to double up and use the normal-size loaf tin. As I'm only treating me and my husband, the dinky slices are just fine.
150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
50g agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp caster sugar or extra agave syrup (optional - to taste)
1 x 250ml carton soya cream (I used Alpro)
1 tbs cornflour
1 tbs water
1. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt it gently, either in the microwave or in a bowl over lightly simmering water (if you do it this way then make sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water).
2. Stir in the agave nectar and vanilla. Taste and add a little caster sugar or extra syrup if it's not sweet enough for you.
3. Heat the soya cream over medium heat until bubbling.
4. While you're waiting for the cream to heat up, combine the cornflour and water in a little jug.
5. Once the cream is bubbling, add in the cornflour mixture and continue to bubble for 2-3 minutes until thickened slightly.
6. Pour the cream into the chocolate mixture.
7. Line a mini loaf pan (around 5" x 2") with enough clingfilm, ensuring there's enough of an overhang to fold over the top once you're done.
8. Pour in the mixture, leave to cool then fold the clingform over the top and freeze.
9. Remove from the freezer for 10 mins or so (depends on the temperature in your kitchen!) to enable you to slice before serving.
Tip: Whisk the cornflour mixture before adding it to the pan, then whisk as and after you add it in order to fully blend it into the cream without leaving any little lumps. If you do still happen to end up with some, just whizz the mixture in your blender for a few seconds before pouring into the mould.
Makes: 2-3 servings