This toasted coconut ice cream from David Lebovitz is essentially custardy homemade vanilla ice cream infused with the complex taste of toasted coconut. Not too sweet and really sorta perfect.
How do I keep ice cream soft?
If you’re one of those folks who prefer a softer consistency to your ice cream, consume it straight out of the ice cream maker. And if you have leftovers that you tuck in the freezer, be certain to press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the ice cream prior to securing the lid on the container. The ice cream will harden overnight in the freezer, though you can always let it soften at room temperature about around 10 minutes or so before you scoop.
Toasted Coconut Ice Cream
- Quick Glance
- 35 M
- 1 H, 45 M
- Serves 8 | Makes 1 quart
Special Equipment: Ice cream maker
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Spread the coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring it frequently so it toasts evenly. Remove it from the oven when it’s fragrant and golden brown and immediately tip the coconut onto a large plate to cool.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk, 1 cup of the heavy cream, sugar, and salt. Stir in the toasted coconut. Using a paring knife, scrape all the vanilla seeds into the warm milk and then toss in the pod as well. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
Rewarm the coconut-infused mixture. Place 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 as possible. Remove the vanilla bean halves and reserve both it and the coconut for another use.
Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and place 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, 6 to10 minutes. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Mix in the vanilla or rum. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water, place the pan in the ice water, and stir until cool.
Cover and refrigerate the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator and then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Serve the ice cream immediately if you like a soft consistency or cover and freeze at least overnight for a sturdier, more traditional ice cream texture. Originally published August 20, 2009.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Ever since a trip to Belize where I had the most delicious coconut ice cream, I've been searching for one equally good. No luck—until now. This ice cream is different from the one I had in Belize in that it is made from toasted coconut, but, believe me, this is delicious.
The toasting of the shredded coconut gives the ice cream a deep and layered flavor. The recipe suggests using unsweetened coconut, but my grocery store was out, so I used sweetened with no regrets. And I would see no reason to use unsweetened next time I make it. I also used vanilla as the final flavoring rather than the rum. The ice cream is smooth, rich, creamy, full of flavor—need I go on. You get the idea. Try it. It's really good!
If you are willing to eat the ice cream right out of the ice cream maker, it's still a bit soft. More time for a final freeze.
This recipe is an absolute delight. In terms of taste and ultra-creamy consistency, it is an all-out winner. A custard-based ice cream is always incredibly rich, which this is, but the achievement here is that the toasted coconut flavor isn't buried under all that fat.
I used my paella pan to toast the coconut. I know this may seem like absolute heresy but it was a gift from someone who forgot about my serious seafood allergy. So toasting coconut it is. I'm also rather forgetful and found it easier to control by toasting it on the stovetop. The recipe is easy to follow and the ice cream comes together quickly; this fairly effortless ice cream tastes like hard work and makes an impressive dessert.
We didn't add anything to ours but I would love to try it with chocolate sauce and more toasted coconut. Or salted caramel sauce. Or a swirl of mango, as Lebovitz suggests.