This intensely flavorful gluten-free, vegan peach crumble with masala chai-spiced coconut sorbet is the perfect summer baking project. Big flavors like cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon lend zip to creamy homemade coconut sorbet – an ideal counterpoint to chewy, molasses-infused seed and oat crumbles and bright peaches baked with a host of fragrant spices.
This vegan peach crumble with masala chai-spiced coconut sorbet is all about layered flavor. On the first go around, the delicate sorbet, with its notes of cardamom and black pepper, got lost in the sweetness of the crumble. The next time, I added more spice to the coconut sorbet, playing up the spices found in a traditional masala chai karha, like cardamom, fresh ginger, cinnamon, fennel seed, star anise, black peppercorns, and cloves. I also reduced the sugar in the crumble – adding just enough to set off the molasses-y crumb top and bright peaches below.
The result is a decadent dessert that goes perfectly with sweltering summer weather, cookouts abruptly halted by thunderstorms, and friends and merriment generally. More specifically, cooling coconut milk sorbet lends creamy contrast to the chewy, golden crumble topping and juicy spiced peach filling. And happily, this peach crumble is vegan and gluten-free so it can be shared, and enjoyed, widely.
Quality Coconut Milk Matters
Regarding the coconut sorbet, I’ve found that the brand of coconut milk matters, both for creaminess and final texture. Ashlae of Oh Lady Cakes has researched the topic extensively, and recommends these brands. I wasn’t actually able to source any of the ones she recommends, so I ended up using Whole Foods 365 brand and it came out great. It’s important to note that Ashlae finds 365 to be, and I quote, “inconsistent af.” Consider yourself warned. On another test, I used Thai Kitchen brand coconut milk and the resulting sorbet texture was significantly inferior with lots of clumped coconut cream and ice crystals. I definitely do not recommend.
DIY Brown Sugar
I tend to only use actual brown sugar in cookies, where it needs to be completely homogenous. For other sweets, I opt for plain sugar plus molasses, since it allows me full control of the flavor. I’ve listed the sugar and molasses option below, but you can absolutely use dark brown sugar instead. There’s no need in this recipe, since everything blends up nicely, but you can always make your own brown sugar by combining 1 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons molasses and blending until smooth in your food processor.
- 2 cans full fat coconut milk (see above for preferred brands – look for those that list just coconut and water as ingredients)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon crushed green cardamon pods
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise (optional)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 10 whole peppercorns
- 4 slices fresh ginger (no need to peel)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Heat coconut milk, sugar, spices, and sea salt in a medium saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is steamy. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Chill mixture (spices and all), at least 3 hours and overnight if you can. When ready to churn, strain mixture with a mesh sieve; use a silicone spatula to press any clumps of coconut cream through.
Process according to your ice cream maker's instructions. Spoon sorbet into a freezer-proof container (I use a metal bread pan), cover, and freeze at least 3 hours. Homemade coconut sorbet has the best texture in the first few days after it’s made, so try and enjoy it right away.
This intensely flavorful gluten-free, vegan peach crumble with masala chai-spiced coconut sorbet is the perfect summer baking project. Homemade coconut sorbet is an ideal counterpoint to chewy, molasses-infused seed and oat crumbles and bright peaches baked with a host of fragrant spices.
- 3 pounds peaches (about 8 medium), pitted and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- Zest of 1 lemon plus 2 tablespoons juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 cup raw, hulled sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons raw, hulled pumpkin seeds
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats, divided
- 2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar* (see note on brown sugar above)
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil
To prepare the filling, toss sliced peaches with sugar, sea salt, zest and juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, and set aside.
To make the oat crumble, pulse to combine sunflower and pumpkin seeds until reduced. Add 1 cup oats and pulse 4 - 5 times, until mixture has a sandy texture. Add coconut, sugar, molasses (if using), and sea salt, and pulse. Add coconut oil; pulse several times to fully incorporate. Add remaining 1/2 cup oats and pulse 2 times.
Using fingertips, roll most of oat mixture into 1-inch clumps and spread on a small plate or rimmed baking sheet and chill in freezer 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spoon filling into a 10-inch cast iron skillet or other 12-cup baking dish. Scatter chilled crumble on top. Bake until crumble is golden and filling is bubbling vigorously, 45 - 55 minutes. For the best set, cool 2 hours before serving.
Serve with a scoop (or two) of coconut sorbet.