Boy, I used to hate coconut. Well, I say I hated it…but I really only hated the texture. I loved the flavor of coconut, but the texture…ick. In high school, my best friend, with whom I spent pretty much every waking second (we were kindred dork spirits), used to liken the texture of coconut to crayon shavings. And since for high school aged girls we spent a ridiculous amount of time coloring, crayon shavings were something we knew well (and I still love to color…why do you think I love teaching preschool so much?).
Anyway, I always lusted after coconut cakes with their fluffy whipped icing but wouldn’t lay a finger on them. I wouldn’t eat Samoas, those lovely caramelly Girl Scout cookies, and the mention of a macaroon did nothing but evoke thoughts of the Henrik Ibsen play “A Doll’s House” that we read in tenth-grade English (the main character, as I recall, ate a lot of macaroons, which had symbolism I could not understand at the age of fifteen). I did not develop an appreciation for true literature until much later, so I wasn’t too interested in thinking about Henrik Ibsen. For reals.
Actually, I’m not really sure when I changed my mind about coconut, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with coconut shrimp. There is just something so sublime about the combination of shrimp, with their briny sea-water flavor, and the tropical crunch of coconut that works so well. And so I was sold. Funny, though, this happened without the knowledge of my family. My mom made a cake a few weeks ago and left the coconut off of half of it (my mom takes such good care of me!).
The funny thing about this ice cream is that, well, it isn’t ice cream. I am not one to split hairs, but those who enjoy such things will argue about the fact that if it contains eggs, it isn’t ice cream….it’s frozen custard. But come on…it’s ice cream. Though my earliest experiences with homemade ice cream were amalgams of cream, milk, and sugar with some flavors, I’ve always been so much happier with the texture of homemade ice cream that includes eggs. I was amazed at how well coconut milk worked in this recipe. The flavor is like a macaroon dipped in chocolate, or (dare I say?) one of those sublime Samoa Girl Scout cookies, sans the caramel center. Fresh coconut will take it over the top (and I’ve included directions for dealing with said fresh coconut after the recipe) but if you aren’t up to the challenge (and I’m not going to lie…it’s a challenge), feel free to use store-bought. If you use sweetened store-bought coconut, though, you may want to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe to 1/2 cup. Anyway, if, like me, you have discovered the decadence of coconut….make this. Immediately.
Macaroon Ice Cream
|Prep time||9 hours|
|Cook time||20 minutes|
|Total time||9 hours, 20 minutes|
- 1 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 4 Large egg yolks
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup shredded coconut (toasted lightly in a pan over medium heat)
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- The small amount of frozen custard added to the mixture before freezing will "seed" the mixture and help it to freeze more efficiently.
- Spreading the ice cream into a chilled metal pan will speed up the ripening process.
- I used a fresh whole coconut...but it is quite an undertaking. You can use store-bought sweetened coconut (reducing the sugar in the recipe to 1/2 cup), unsweetened dried coconut (I have found this at Whole Foods and Earth Fare), or store-bought unsweetened grated/shredded coconut (this is indeed difficult to find).
|Heat the coconut milk and sugar to a simmer over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks until they turn light yellow in color and begin to form "ribbons" when you pull the whisk out.|
|Gradually add about a cup of the hot coconut milk mixture to the egg yolks and whisk thoroughly. This will temper the eggs and prevent them from "scrambling" when you add them to the pan.|
|Pour the coconut milk/egg mixture back into the pan and bring back to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat. Cook until thickened to a runny custard consistency. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any cooked bits of egg. Measure about half a cup of the custard into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze (you can skip this step but freezing a small amount to add in later will help the ice cream to freeze more efficiently). Refrigerate the remaining custard for at least four hours before the next step.|
|Place a metal cake pan into the freezer. Scrape the frozen custard into the rest of the custard and stir to incorporate (you will still have large chunks). Freeze according to the manufacturer's directions in an ice cream maker. When the freezing process is almost complete, add 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into the mixture. Allow to incorporate.|
|Scrape the ice cream into the chilled cake pan. Freeze for at least four hours before serving. Top with remaining toasted coconut and chocolate chips.|
To break down a whole coconut….
Begin by locating the “eyes”. Drill a hole in two of the three eyes.
Drain out the coconut water. You can discard this, but why would you? Have you seen how much they charge for it in the grocery store? Drink it! If you don’t like the flavor on its own, use it in a smoothie.
Bake the coconut in a 350 degree oven for thirty minutes. Break the coconut open by bashing it-HARD-on a counter or a very hard surface (concrete floor?). Philip actually ended up using a machete to break this one open. This stuff is hardcore!
There’s a dark brown membrane attached to the fruit of the coconut. Peel this off, then grate. I grate the coconut using my food processor.