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Purple Sweet Potato Ice Cream

When I was little I often spent summers in Hong Kong. One of my most vivid food memories (and that is some feat given the quantity and variety of foods consumed per trip!) is the purple Ube flavoured ice cream. It was like nothing I'd ever seen here at home (and no, the blue bubblegum flavour ice lollies do not count). To think an actual real food had a colour as bright and fun as a Strawberry Shortcake cohort was mindbogglingly glorious!

Purple Sweet Potato Ice Cream

I have since learned that Ube is a purple yam and actually not the same thing as a purple sweet potato, though not dissimilar in colour, taste and texture (the latter is a tuber while the former is a tuberous vine). Given purple yams are nigh on impossible to source here in the UK I decided to recreate my childhood dream ice cream with the slightly more common purple sweet potato (also known as Okinawan sweet potato).

The creamy dreaminess is like a time machine back to the wide eyed delight of the days when the toughest challenge life had to throw my way was a choice between Matcha or Ube mochi for dessert. You know what? I still can't decide.

Purple Sweet Potato Ice Cream
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free

Serves 2

1 medium (200-250g) purple sweet potato, baked, cooled and peeled
1 cup (250ml) coconut cream from top of a can of coconut milk, plus extra if needed
1 tbsp raw black sesame tahini*
1/3 - 1/2 cup (35-50g) dried unsweetened mulberries, depending on sweetness preference**
1 tbsp acai powder (optional but enhances colour and sweetness)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp unflavoured gelatin ( I use Great lakes Unflavoured Gelatin, red can)***

* sub regular tahini if unavailable but black tahini has a more earthy flavour
** sub softened unsweetened dates if unavailable; 1/3 cup is sweet enough for me but add extra for sweeter taste if preferred
*** sub 1 tsp Agar powder for vegan-friendly version

1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Mixture should be very thick and creamy (and purple!)
2. Can be eaten immediately as a creamy dessert but best transferred to a non-metallic sealed container and placed in freezer for approximately 2 hours.
3. Remove from freezer while still soft enough to scoop. Serve with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and hulled hemp seeds if desired.