Few dismissals make me sadder than someone saying, "I just don't like coconut."
I shouldn't complain—it means I get all the Almond Joy out of any variety candy pack and don't have to share macaroons. But I do love baking with coconut, and it's a sad thing when you get a rejection akin to this:
And therein lies the problem, I think: "I don't mind the taste," people say, "but I hate the consistency."
Which is where coconut ice cream comes in—all creamy coconut flavor, no chewy coconut threads.
You can boost that coconut flavor by toasting the shreds first. But be careful: if you're using sweetened coconut (easier to find than unsweetened), it'll burn quickly. After the first minute of toasting, keep an eye on the pan. You just want a light golden color on the edges and the beginnings of a strong coconut aroma.
If you're looking to brighten the flavor of coconut, there's no better addition than lime. It gives the ice cream the tropical lift it needs to accompany anything from fresh pineapple to dark rum cake. Should you be seeking ways to brighten up a dreary late-winter evening, look no further.
- 2 cups sweetened coconut, packed (about 6 ounces)
- 2 cups cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lime zest from 2 limes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat oven to 350°F with an oven rack positioned in the middle. Spread coconut thinly and very evenly across a half sheet pan and toast just until coconut edges begin to brown and turn aromatic, 2 to 4 minutes. Do not overbake coconut or ice cream will taste burnt.
Transfer coconut to a medium saucepan and cover with cream and milk. Bring to a boil, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 1 hour.
In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until lighter in color and slightly thickened.
Strain dairy through a fine mesh strainer into a large measuring cup or a bowl with a pouring spout. Press very firmly on coconut shreds to strain as much liquid out as possible. Very slowly pour dairy into saucepan with eggs, whisking constantly, until fully combined. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until a custard forms on the back of a spoon and a swiped finger leaves a clean line.
Strain custard into an airtight container and stir in lime zest and salt to taste. Chill overnight, or at least 6 hours, then strain chilled custard into ice cream maker (to remove lime zest) and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to airtight container and chill for at least 4 hours in freezer before serving. Garnish with lime zest and toasted coconut flakes if desired.
ice cream maker
Sweetened coconut burns very quickly, so keep an eye on it as it toasts.