[Coconut Ice Cream from the Pantry]
The really nice thing when you come back from a vacation, however lovely, is the fresh set of eyes you can lay on your living quarters, and all the things that make them homey and yours.
Your bed, not too firm but not flabby either, and wide enough that two normal-size individuals can stretch their legs without starting a war. Your shower handle, and its nifty flow modes that you can fiddle with to match your shower mood. An oven you can trust, as opposed to an oven that scorches your apple cake the first chance it gets. And, perhaps, a still-very-new-and-still-very-exciting appliance, like, say, an ice cream maker.
I knew I’d have a kitchen to call my own for part of our vacation so I briefly caressed the idea of taking my new toy with me when we left, but even I had to admit the silliness of such a plan. As it turns out, good ice cream was always available in our hour of need, in particular during a few furnace-hot days in Dordogne, when a salon de thé called La Maison de Léo* helped us cool off between canoe rides with numerous helpings of rose ice cream.
Replicating this pale pink gem is high on my back-to-school to-do list, but while I do my homework and figure out the how, the what, and the how much of each, I would like to share the recipe for this coconut ice cream, which I winged and churned when we returned, having wisely left the bowl of my ice cream maker in the freezer, and all the necessary ingredients in the pantry.
Even after you’ve set aside the ones that call for fresh coconuts**, there is no dearth of coconut ice cream recipes roaming the wild wild internet. I’ve found recipes that use canned coconut milk, and I’ve found recipes that steep grated coconut in regular milk or cream before straining it out, but I wanted — and got — the best of both worlds: a base of coconut milk, its authority tempered by evaporated milk***, and plenty of toasted flecks of coconut in each mouthful.
* La Maison de Léo / 14 place d’Armes / 24170 Belvès / map it! / 05 53 28 29 37.
** I’ve refused to deal with them myself ever since an unfortunate incident involving two members of my immediate family, an innocent coconut, and a fourth floor balcony.
*** The use of evaporated milk in place of cream is a tip shared recently by my mother. The benefit is a lower fat content for a similarly creamy mouthfeel.
Glace Coco du Placard
– 65g (1 cup) unsweetened dried grated coconut
– 1 small can (380ml or 13 fl. oz.) reduced fat unsweetened evaporated milk (in French: lait concentré non sucré demi-écrémé)
– 1 small can (380ml or 13 fl. oz.) good-quality unsweetened coconut milk
– 1 to 2 tablespoons dark rum, to taste
– 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
– 150g (3/4 cup) sugar
Makes about 1 liter (1 quart).
Pre-freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker.
Toast the grated coconut in a dry skillet until golden and fragrant; set aside to cool completely.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, coconut milk, rum, vanilla, and sugar until blended. Refrigerate until well chilled.
Whisk again before using, and freeze using your ice cream maker. Halfway through the churning, when the mixture has thickened to a custard-like consistency, pour the toasted coconut into the ice cream maker so that it blends into the ice cream.