Coconut is one of my all-time favorite fruits. From the water, to the delicious flesh, and even the smell. It is just so refreshing and tasty and always reminds me of my dad who LOVES coconut anything. Growing up I remember going to my dad’s favorite ice cream shop at Oakland Mall, and him ordering the best coconut ice cream there was. My sisters and I would choose our favorite flavors in the kid size scoops while my dad got a large knowing we all wanted a bite of his too.
Thankfully I married an avid lover of coconut and the tradition continues with my kids sharing in our bowls except this time we make it at home. One, because that ice cream shop closed down years ago, and two because I haven’t quite found homemade churned ice cream like the one my dad loves, here in Florida.
I use an ice cream maker, generously gifted by my beautiful sister in law for this refreshing coconut ice cream. It's a Cuisinart Model ICE-21R ice cream maker. Just be sure to follow your ice cream maker base freezing instructions before starting the recipe.
Don’t have an ice cream maker? You can always make the recipe and instead of churning it in a machine you can churn by hand. Just place the liquid ice cream base in your desired container with a lid and freeze for 45 minutes. After about 45 minutes whisk it with a spoon, fork or whisk and then cover and refreeze. Continue this processes several times in 45 minute increments until you get desired texture and consistency.
So let’s get started! You want to start with the flesh of 2 young Thai coconuts.
You want to add the flesh and half a can of coconut milk to a blender and puree your coconut flesh.
Next in a saucepan you want to add the pureed coconut, the rest of your coconut milk, and equal parts milk and cream. Bring the whole pot to a simmer, stirring and mixing to incorporate the cream and milk into the coconut.
Meanwhile in a separate bowl you want to add 4 egg yolks, a pinch of salt and your choice of sweetener. I use agave but you can always add sugar or even maple syrup. Whisk the eggs, sugar and salt really well until everything is well incorporated and smooth.
Then you want to temper your eggs. Which basically just means you want to add a little milk at a time and whisk vigorously until you bring the eggs up gradually in temperature enough so you can add the entire mixture into the hot milk. This is done so your eggs don’t scramble in the scorching hot milk.
Once you have tempered your eggs and mixed the milk and egg mixtures together, let them simmer for a few more minutes on the stove to thicken then remove from heat and place directly into an ice bath. An ice bath is just a larger bowl filled with ice and water to help stop the cooking process of the custard you have just created.
Once it’s slightly cooled, add a splash of vanilla and give it one last stir and then place in fridge to cool COMPLETELY before churning. If the mixture is not cooled properly, your ice cream will not churn and solidify.
Now the fun begins! Add your coconut custard base to your ice cream maker according to its directions and let your ice cream churn!
I had some left over custard that didn’t make it into the ice cream maker, but it didn’t go to waste one bit!
Every ice cream maker is different. Mine took about 20 minutes to get to this smooth, rich consistency. At this point you can add some nuts or coconut flakes, but because my kids like it plain, I left it. Then just scoop it out and serve right away or place in an airtight container and freeze for later.
Indulge in this decadency, my dad’s favorite way, with some chopped pecans and a sprinkle of sweet coconut flakes.