“Speed Scratch” Vegan Neapolitan with Fork-Smashed Strawberries
Remember how I mentioned in my last post that I feel like eating healthy salads balances out the ice cream that I eat right afterwards? Behold some epic ice cream.
Now I do have to admit that this followed up a rather large and not-entirely-salad-filled meal. We had friends over for dinner, and I wanted to make a few different things that were more elaborate for the meal, which meant making a dessert that would be a little bit simpler.
Enter “speed scratch” recipes – a phrase coined by chef Michael Chiarello. (While he’s not a vegan chef, many of his recipes can be easily veganized.) ”Speed Scratch” basically means using shortcuts with recipes, but by using high-quality ingredients you can still get a really delicious end result. He has a “speed scratch” recipe for potato chips that involves making your own roasted garlic seasoning and sprinkling it over oven-warmed chips, for example.
This recipe is a version of Neapolitan ice cream that you can make taste more homemade by layering the ice creams yourself and sprinkling some gray salt in between the layers. The idea behind using the salt is that it’s reminiscent of ice creams that used to be made in hand-crank ice cream freezers where a bit of the salt used would get into the ice cream mixture. It’s also just tasty to have a touch of salt against the sweetness of the ice creams and strawberry sauce.
The recipe for the Neapolitan is available on the Food Network site, so I’ll share it here. It doesn’t list the recipe for the fork-smashed strawberries (from the book “At Home with Michael Chiarello”), but there is a recipe for strawberry balsamic sauce which sounds equally delicious! You could also use my recipe for balsamic strawberries, and just smash them up a bit with a fork to create more of a sauce.
“Speed Scratch” Neapolitan
Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello
1 pint strawberry ice cream (see My Notes)
1 pint chocolate ice cream (see My Notes)
1 pint vanilla ice cream (see My Notes)
1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt, preferably gray salt
Strawberries Balsamic Sauce, to serve, optional
Remove the ice cream from the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to soften.
Line a 4 by 8-inch loaf pan with 2 pieces of plastic wrap, 1 going lengthwise and the other crosswise. Put it into the freezer while the ice cream softens.
Spoon out the chocolate ice cream into the bottom of the loaf pan and spread it evenly with the back of the spoon; sprinkle a little salt on top. Make another layer with the strawberry ice cream and another with the vanilla, sprinkling a little salt on top of each layer. Close the plastic in both directions and put the pan into the freezer for 3 hours or overnight. Put the plates in the freezer at the same time to reduce melting when served.
Remove the plates and ice cream from the freezer. Unwrap and put the ice cream on a cutting board. Run a knife under hot water for a moment and slice 3/4-inch thick slices. Place a slice on a plate, spoon 1/4-cup Strawberries Balsamic Sauce on top, if using, and serve quickly.
Chef’s Note: If ice cream does not easily come out of its mold, run mold briefly under hot water.
Entertaining Note: Vary to more exotic ice cream flavors if you like, just be sure to adjust the sauce to go with the new flavors.
My Notes: I wanted to try different brands ice creams for this, so for the chocolate layer I used It’s Soy Delicious Awesome Chocolate, for the strawberry layer I used Rice Dream Organic Strawberry and for the vanilla layer I used Tempt Vanilla Bean. While I liked trying a variety of non-dairy ice creams, I’d recommend trying to stay with the same type since these all had slightly different textures and also melted differently. Next time I make this I’ll also switch up the layers and put the chocolate in the middle and the vanilla on the bottom so that it’s served on top to contrast more with the strawberry sauce.