Tuesday, May 5, 2009
It's that time again! Summer is upon us (a whopping upper 50s in Alaska! BREAK OUT THE SANDALS AND JEAN SHORTS!). That can only mean one thing: it's finally respectable to start making ice cream again. I should disclose the following factoid: Alaska eats the most ice cream per capita in the United States. Think about that for a second because we get about 3 months of summer and the rest is 40 and below from there. I've personally worn that factoid like a badge of honor; I've TOTALLY driven through McDonald's just for an ice cream in the dead of winter.
That being said, I don't MAKE a lot of ice cream in the winter. That just seems weird. But almost overnight, the sun started coming out and even though it's 50's-ish, it's still summer to us!
As previously mentioned in the last post, I started with coconut to duplicate a recipe I saw on a beautiful Flickr picture. I browsed my ice cream cookbooks and didn't find the coconut gelato she made, but did find a Toasted Coconut Ice Cream from David Lebovitz and this is the guy who came up with the bacon ice cream so I had to trust him. He's some sort of an authority on good ice cream so I felt I was in good hands.
And, man he was right. I don't mind taking two days to make something (the cooking then overnight freeze time) if it comes out this good. The coconut flavor infused in the ice cream is delicate but distinct and stands on its own perfectly. HOWEVER, I will admit that while I'm enjoying something purely coconut, my mind always wanders to chocolate (Mounds bars!) or maybe sliced almonds (Almond Joy!).
I even added more coconut on top of the ice cream when I devoured it because double double coconut is even better!
A quick note: the recipe requested unsweetened coconut but I didn't have that so I had to use sweetened. I kept the same amount of sugar that was called for, meaning mine would have come out slightly sweeter than Lebovitz' original. So you may want to weigh your options when deciding which road to take; I thought the sweetness of mine was perfect!
TOASTED COCONUT ICE CREAM
Source: David Lebovitz
Makes about 1 quart (1 liter)
1 cup dried, shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
Big pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, or 1 teaspoon rum
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring it frequently so it toasts evenly. Remove it from the oven when it's nice and fragrant and golden brown.
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, 1 cup of the heavy cream, sugar and salt and add the toasted coconut. Use a paring knife, and scrape all the vanilla seeds into the warm milk, then add the pod as well. Cover, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
Rewarm the coconut-infused mixture. Set a mesh strainer over another medium saucepan and strain the coconut-infused liquid through the strainer into the saucepan. Press down on the coconut very firmly with a flexible rubber spatula to extract as much of the flavor from it as possible. Remove the vanilla bean pieces and discard the coconut.
Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and set the mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm coconut-infused mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir in the cream. Mix in the vanilla or rum and stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.