We have a love affair with children's books at my house. While they often have beautiful and attractive pictures, children's books also have a higher calling: they inspire creativity, contain messages about how to treat our planet ourselves and others, and most importantly, get our children excited about reading.
Growing up, I loved every Roald Dahl book I could get my hands on. The BFG was my personal favorite, but when my kindergartener requested James and the Giant Peach, I was thrilled to revisit this classic. James and the Giant Peach is the tale of a lonely, orphaned boy who goes on a fabulous adventure in an oversized peach. Accompanying him throughout his voyage are several talking insects, who become his greatest friends and fellow travelers. The insects, who are also oversized, include a centipede, a glowworm, a spider, a grasshopper, and a silkworm. Each has its own comical personality traits, and James brings them together to successfully cross the ocean in the peach and begin a happy new life in New York City. I love how James and the Giant Peach exemplifies friendship, working together, remaining hopeful, and having respect and fondness for the talents and uses of all living creatures.
Peaches are a wonderful spring and summer fruit that naturally have a creaminess to them, making them a perfect flavor for vegan ice cream. Paired with a vegan cashew base, the peaches make a luscious sweet treat that is healthy and takes barely any prep. This is basically a three-ingredient ice cream; the almond extract and cinnamon are recommended but optional. What could be simpler than that? As always, please remember to buy organic ingredients whenever possible. Read on for a healthy recipe that will make a happy addition to any book time. For more recipes inspired by children's books, check out Books at the Table.
1. Gather the ingredients.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 2 small or 1 large ripe peach
- 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup, or to taste depending on the sweetness of your peaches
- 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
2. Chop the peaches.
Slice the peaches. You want to end up with about 2 cups of peaches. Since they are going in the blender, you don’t have to worry about making them too small. You can peel the peaches if you like, but I like to leave the skins on.
3. Make the cashew milk.
In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews with 1 1/2 cups water and blend for about a minute, until the mixture is smooth and light. You do not want any chunks of cashew to explain. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you can also try blending in a regular blender and then straining the milk through cheesecloth.
4. Blend the other ingredients and chill the mixture.
Add the peaches, maple syrup to taste, and almond extract and cinnamon (if using) and blend well, then chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
5. Make the ice cream.
Process the ice cream in an ice cream machine until desired consistency. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes.
6. Serve and enjoy!
Curl up with a copy of James and the Giant Peach and dig in immediately or freeze until later. As with most homemade ice creams without preservatives and stabilizers, the ice cream will harden in the freezer. To soften, simply leave out on a counter prior to serving or heat in the microwave until soft (about 30-45 seconds). Enjoy! Makes about 1 quart.