This coconut ice cream is the ‘punch in the face’ of coconut flavor. Steeped in three types of coconut and churned to creamy perfection, you would be hard-pressed to find a better frozen treat!
I’m an island girl. My people hail from the beautiful island of Dominican Republic and I carry in my blood both Dominican and Haitian heritage. And though I was raised in the states, I will forever identify as Caribeña.
The flavors of my island – Mango, chinola, guayaba, guanabana, limonsillo, papaya, y coco call to me like a tropical siren song. I go to it gladly, hungrily. The first bite through mango flesh, taking me back back back when mango juice used to run down my arms, my belly distended from so much fruit.
It was con mi isla in mind that I churn this coconut ice cream. I wanted this ice cream to taste like breaking and biting into a sweetened coconut. And I succeeded.
This ice cream starts with milk and heavy cream steeped for many hours in three types of coconut – Sweetened and unsweetened coconut flakes, plus coconut cream – which is just a block of unsweetened coconut. You can find it in the international section of your local supermarket. Try a section specific to island foods, Jamaica and the like.
Once the mixture steeps it is blended for a minute or so to deepen the coconut flavor. It’s cooked and thickened with cornstarch. I wanted the ice cream to resemble the inside of a coconut, and egg yolks would change that.
The cooking is followed by an ice bath cool down. Once the mixture cools, the coconut flakes are strained from the ice cream. At this point you can churn or allow the flavors to meld overnight. I don’t wait. I want it now. As it churns I toast coconut flakes and though it is truly inadvisable (because it’s still soft serve status) to eat ice cream straight out of the machine, I can’t help myself. Spoon in one hand, toasted coconut flakes in the other. I go to town on an ice cream that tastes like the islands, like my people, like my beloved coco.
Coconut Ice Cream
- For the coconut ice cream
- Sweetened coconut flakes - 1 (10 ounce) bag
- Unsweetened flaked coconut - 1 1/4 cup
- Coconut cream (NOT sweetened cream of coconut) - 1 package
- Whole milk - 2 cups
- Heavy cream - 2 cups
- Granulated sugar - ¾ cup
- Cornstarch slurry
- Cornstarch - 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
- Whole milk - 2 tablespoons
In a medium saucepan, combine sweetened coconut flakes, unsweetened flaked coconut, coconut cream, milk, and heavy cream, and sugar. Stir to combine. Cover and allow the mixture to steep in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Once the mixture has finished steeping, make the cornstarch slurry. Combine cornstarch and milk in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Fill a large bowl with ice water and place an open 1 gallon Ziploc bag inside.
Grab the steeped mixture from the refrigerator and place in a blender and blend on high for at least 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil over. Reduce the heat to low and add the cornstarch slurry. Whisking the entire time, cook the mixture until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
Remove mixture from heat and pour into the Ziploc bag. Seal the bag and submerge in the ice bath. Allow to cool completely, adding more ice if needed.
When the mixture has cooled, strain the coconut flakes at least twice using a fine mesh strainer. Discard the solids. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Makes 1 quart of ice cream.