Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Coconut Ice Cream

I'm so sick of winter. But you know, I'm even sicker of people saying that they're sick of winter. I mean, winter happens every year; you'd think we'd all be used to it by now. The reason we're having such a hard time is because we're spoiled. Last year, it hardly snowed so this year, the weekly snow storms seem like overkill and I'm growing tired of wearing thick socks and scraping ice off of my windshield and avoiding the yellow snow spots my pup has been creating all over the yard.

It may seem counter-intuitive and completely inappropriate to make ice cream in the winter, but this is coconut ice cream and the tropical flair encourages me to dream of sunshine and palm trees and that lovely thing called warmth. The last time I had coconut ice cream was at Manelly's in Belize. It was creamy and decadent and amazing. So, I thought I'd make my own version to remind me of that happier, warmer time. Plus, I need to have my own version since I can't visit Manelly's on a daily basis (which I wish I could).
Ingredients:
2 cups half & half (or 1 cup cream and 1 cup milk)
1 vanilla bean
15 oz. can of cream of coconut (sweetened)
2 egg yolks
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
+ toasted coconut flake garnish

Start by scraping a vanilla bean and adding it to a saucepan with the half & half and the cream of coconut. Heat the pan over a low, gentle heat just until scalding. I think the flavor of vanilla bean is delicious and amazing but it isn't 100% necessary so if you don't have vanilla beans, you don't have to use them.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, brown sugar, and salt. My normal go-to ice cream recipe has four egg yolks but the richness of the cream of coconut with that many egg yolks in one recipe would be overwhelming.
Temper the egg yolks with a little bit of the hot half & half mixture. Once the yolks are tempered, add in the rest of the half & half and then whisk to combine.
Strain the custard back into the saucepan and heat gently until slightly thickened. You want to bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Afterwards, let the custard cool.
Once the custard is cooled, stir in a little vanilla extract. Then, chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
After refrigerating, you might notice that some of the coconut fat has solidified. Don't worry about it. The churning of the ice cream maker will take care of that situation. Just pour the chilled custard into your ice cream maker and make it according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once the ice cream is made, pack it into containers and stick in the freezer for at least 2 hours to harden up to "normal" ice cream consistency.
Meanwhile, bake up a batch of gooey brownies to eat with the ice cream.
Plop a few generous scoops on top of the brownie and then sprinkle on some toasted coconut. The ice cream is delicate, sweet, coconutty, creamy, and great for stabbing the winter blues right in its stupid face.
That sprinkle of toasted coconuts elevates this to perfection. It adds texture and another dose of coconut flavor, which won't hurt anyone.
Here's the recipe page:

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