Monday, July 18, 2011

Apple Pie Gelato

Don't you just love it when you learn something new about food or food science? Well, maybe just me. I'm a food nerd. Perhaps that was why I became a baker. Baking is mostly chemistry and interactions of different components. I saw myself as a mad scientist who would problem-solve when things went wrong. For example, a brownie with a soggy middle and a burnt crust would really get me excited about trying new ways to solve that problem with my mad food-science skills. (Yes, I fully embrace how geeky this sounds :) And because of my nerdiness, I decided to chat up the Whole Foods gelato lady while she made me my almond milk latte.

For the first time in a while, since I usually see ice cream/ gelato and immediately look away because my dairy allergy doesn't allow me such indulgences, I lingered over the gelato flavors and saw that they had "dairy-free" flavors. I immediately thought, "Well, that probably just means soy then," but I decided to ask her what the ingredients were anyways. (I try not to intake too much soy voluntarily since it's hidden in many things and is usually genetically modified).

She was most helpful, and she said the dairy-free flavors were usually just a mix of sugar (corn syrup) and water and guar gum, which helps emulsify them and help them fluff up like real gelato. I had seen guar gum in the store before, but never knew what exactly it was for. So I did some research into guar gum, and here is what I found:
  1. Guar gum works really well to emulsify cold foods, like ice creams or dressings.
  2. It is made from the endosperm (nutritious starchy part of a seed) of a legume seed native to tropical Asia.
  3. Unlike Xanthan gum (which along with guar gum is also useful in gluten-free baked goods), guar gum could be better for people with sensitivities to corn or soy, since Xanthan gum is made from a microorganism that is fed a diet of corn and soy.
  4. Research has shown that guar gum has possible health benefits because of it's high soluble fiber content, like increasing calcium absorption, lowering cholesterol levels, and providing relief from constipation.
  5. I haven't found it available at Whole Foods (most likely chain store to find it in), but have found it at local herb or organic markets/ co-ops. You can also find it on .
  6. It also works nicely when making homemade nut or seed milks- gives them a more rich texture like real milk. I enjoyed a nice thick glass the other day.
Ok, so you didn't stop by for a science lesson! Onto the main event. This recipe is for a dairy-free (and gluten-free, egg-free, and refined sugar-free too) gelato. Gelato actually is older than ice cream, and usually has less fat but more sugar that it's newly evolved relative. Perfect for the way I like to do ice cream, since my "sugar" is usually a whole food with a lot of fiber. Most gelatos (in America at least) are typically high in fructose. Therefore, I chose a very ripe banana to help sweeten this treat.

Apple Pie Gelato

Serves 3-4Ingredients
For the Apple bits and topping:

  • 1 tart apple, granny smith or other low-water apple which would normally bake with
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance spread (I use soy-free, or the red tub :)
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened apple sauce or can sub 1 Tbsp honey
For the "Pie" part:
  • 3/4 cup nuts (I used cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts, but any of your favorite will do)
  • 1/4 cup coconut, unsweetened, unsulfured
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp raisins, I used no sugar added and unsulfured (can sub 2 dates)
  • 1 tsp apple butter (optional, but yummy)
For the Gelato part:
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used coconut and almond mixture)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 very ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup organic apple butter (I used homemade, but you can use this brand, found in most stores, or your favorite local one. You can also try subbing 1/4 cup apple sauce mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon, just a thought as I have not tested this out.)
  • 1 tsp guar gum
  • Optional, depending on your sweet tooth: 1-3 Tbsp raw honey
  • Chop the apple (for the bits and topping) into dime-sized chunks and toss with the lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, and apple sauce (or honey if using) in a bowl. Set aside for now.
  • In food processor or blender, mix all "pie" ingredients until you can pinch them together easily and everything looks uniform. Set aside.
  • In food processor or blender, blend all ice cream ingredients until pureed.
  • Pour into your ice cream maker, and freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions. I use this one.
  • While the ice cream is freezing, get out a small skillet and heat Earth Balance spread.
  • Add the apple that had been sitting in lemon juice mixture to the skillet when the EB is well heated.
  • Saute the apples until they are warmed through and slightly caramelized (about 5-8 minutes).
  • Optional: Place 1/2 of the apple chunks in a bowl or plate and freeze just until your ice cream has mostly frozen in the maker. (The rest you will use as a topping- or you can just top the apples on your finished ice cream, especially if your ice cream maker is on the small side.)
  • When the ice cream has mostly frozen, add 1/2 the chunks of "pie" pieces. Also, if desired, add 1/2 the sauteed apples. Let the ice cream come to a complete freeze.
  • Serve and top with remaining sauteed apples and pie-like pieces.
This post has been linked up to:
Sugar-Free Sunday @ Flip Cookbook. Check out more refined-sugar free ideas over there and interesting tid-bits about raisins!

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday @ Simply Sugar and Gluten-free. Visit Slightly Indulgent Tues for more healthier recipe ideas.

Hope you enjoy the gelato, and let me know if you have experimented with guar gum and what you like to make with it!


  1. This looks amazing. Can't wait to try it. It looks like a great early fall treat.

  2. Thanks! Here in GA, we have tree ripened apples coming in already so, for some of us Georgians at least, this recipe is seasonal right now...but I agree, this is definitely a Fall treat:)


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