I’ve written before of the joys of the act of cooking, the satisfaction of pulling off a meal. A difficult meal cooked well tastes phenomenal, because you were there every step of the way. That feeling eventually fades when making weekday dinners; it’s there, but muted. I’m not sure if it will ever fade for ice cream, even the simplest, even if I make it every week.
As we’ll see, ice cream is actually pretty simple to make. It just seems inaccessible, some delicious frozen magic. Especially coconut ice cream. You just don’t see it anywhere; at least I haven’t. Make this for guests, and they’ll remember you forever.
Last time I told you the one rule of weight control was if you want to eat it, you have to cook it yourself. Then you know, and can control, exactly what goes in your body. In this ice cream there is cream, coconut milk, egg yolk and sugar. That’s it. Simple, familiar; make it and you’ll be amazed at how few ingredients can taste so good.
Store bought ice cream, if you splurge and get the stuff with real cream, still has stuff like guar gum, polysorbate 80 and –get this–natural flavours. All this stuff is perfectly fine to eat, I don’t question that. And it’s all there to manipulate taste and mouth feel and save on the cream used, so buying 2L of ice cream is not exorbitantly expensive. But, given the choice, which would you rather have?
Another problem is that you can’t change what they give you. This ice cream is a perfect example. Hopefully, in time, I’ll convince you that carbs are pretty bad for your waistline. You’ll still be able to enjoy this ice cream, without limit: just reduce or remove the sugar. (I haven’t tried that, but I’m convinced you won’t lose much flavour.) Or maybe you find this too rich, so you reduce the eggs. Whatever, it’s up to you.
But you can’t do that with store bought.
This recipe is based on Michael Ruhlman‘s vanilla ice cream, described in Ratio, one of the best books you could ever buy for cooking. I swapped the milk for coconut milk and ditched the vanilla. (I’ve tried this with vanilla as well, but I think the vanilla kills the coconut flavour.) You’ll see creamed coconut on the ingredient list, I put it just a dab because I had it in my cupboard. I thought it added a little more coconut flavour, but it’s optional. Ice cream, being cold, deadens the flavour a little, that’s why I put it in. That’s also the explanation for the sugar content. Taste it while still batter and it will seem too sweet.
The biggest problem that could arise is not getting the batter cold enough before putting it in the ice cream maker. That’s why I like making ice cream in the winter: the natural, and oh so huge freezer I have, called the back deck. Depending on how cold it is outside, a half hour may be all you need. Careful, though, you don’t want it to freeze. To eat it in the winter, start a fire so you get warm enough to need cooling down with some tasty ice cream.
Makes about 3 cups
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
- 2 tsp creamed coconut (optional)
- 6oz egg yolks (about 9 yolks)
- 3/4 cup sugar
In a pot, combine coconut milk and cream. Place on the medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add the creamed coconut, if using, and let it melt.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine yolks and sugar. Whisk vigorously for 30 seconds.
Take the cream mixture off the heat for a minutes. Prepare a bowl of ice and water. Place another bowl in that bowl. Place a fine mesh strainer in the second bowl. Slowly pour the cream into the yolks and sugar, whisking continuously. Once complete mixed, pour the batter pack into the pot and return to medium heat.
Continue whisking and let the mixture heat up for a couple of minutes to let it thicken. It should be pourable, but stay in place if wiped from the back of a spoon.
Pour the batter through strainer into the chilled bowl. With a spatula, move back and forth through the center of the batter to move the hot stuff to the cold edges. Do this for several minutes until the batter is cool to the touch. Cover the batter with cling wrap and place in the fridge (or the great outdoors if cold enough). The colder it is going into the ice cream maker, the better.
Once the batter is sufficiently cold, start up your ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s directions. You just made ice cream.
A couple of hours in the freezer will give it that perfect ice cream consistency.
Enjoy on its own.