When we lived in Wisconsin we frequented a Thai restaurant that served delicious fortunes after your meal that were wafer thin and had a good punch of coconut flavor. I was cooking a Chinese feast for friends and wanted my ice cream to have that same coconut flavor, but all of the coconut recipes I had tried to that point left me wanting. I’d had great luck making a salted caramel ice cream from David Leibovitz’ blog, and I thought it might work for coconut or it could completely fail.
Success!!! Tastes exactly how I wanted it. Like toasted coconut and really creamy. I call it light caramel because it’s that color and method. Don’t see the word “light” and think healthy. Why does every food need to be healthy anyway?
I learned to make ice cream from David Leibovitz’ The Perfect Scoop. You must buy this book if you churn at home, but his salted butter ice cream is available on his blog here.
Get ready and gather all of your ingredients. If your coconut oil is solid, melt it a little so you can measure 4 Tablespoons. Place 1 c heavy cream in a plastic container. Measure 1 c of cream and 1 c whole milk together and warm for a minute in the microwave.
Now let’s start cooking.
First place 3/4 c sugar in a dry sauce pan at medium heat. Let it begin to liquify and color. Start stirring when the bottom layer melts. Keep stirring until your sugar is all melted, but try to keep it light. It will turn the color of a penny if you keep it going, but that’s too dark for our purpose. Think auburn.
We’re doing coconut twice over, so use coconut oil instead of butter for your caramel.
It doesn’t mix in perfectly, it likes to separate, but keep stirring then add your warmed milk and cream. It may bubble. Keep stirring and scraping the caramel on the bottom of your pan. Be patient and all your solid caramel will melt into the cream.
As it is combining, add your next coconut flavor boost: 1/4 c sweetened dried coconut.
Unsweetened tastes like straw so I always use sweetened.
While it’s warming, separate 5 eggs. (I crack all of them in a bowl or container and pull out the yolks with my fingers.) Save the whites for another use. They last in the fridge a while, or you can freeze them. I save on dishes and use my large measuring cup I warmed the milk in for my egg yolks.
Slowly pour your warmed coconut ice cream over the egg yolks while stirring constantly to temper your eggs. Then add it back to your pan and over your heat.
Stir and let your custard thicken until you can scrape a line on the back of your spatula. Pour the mixture into the container with the reserved cream through a fine mesh strainer. Press the mixture a little to get that good flavor out of the coconut that you’re straining out.
Let it cool on your counter for 30 minutes with the lid off. Then seal it and chill overnight.
Once it is thoroughly chilled, churn according to your ice cream machine’s instructions.
The first time I made this I layered toasted coconut like a mix-in after churning, but we prefer the toasted coconut as a topping so it stays crisp. All you do is add 1/4 or 1/2 c coconut flakes to a small dry skillet and stir over medium heat constantly until it’s toasted to your liking. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag.
Light Caramel Coconut Ice Cream
Makes– Approximately 1 qt
- 2 cups heavy cream (divided)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 c granulated sugar
- 1/4 c coconut oil
- 1/4 c sweetened dried coconut
- 5 egg yolks
- Optional – 1/2 c toasted coconut for serving
Place 1 c heavy cream in plastic container and set a fine mesh strainer on top. Warm remaining cup of cream and milk in a liquid measuring cup in the microwave for 1 minute.
Place sugar in the bottom of a dry saucepan over medium heat. Allow sugar to caramelize to a light caramel color, stirring only as the bottom layer dissolves. Once all the sugar is liquid, add coconut oil and stir then add warm cream mixture slowly. Add 1/4 shredded coconut. Continue to cook until any hardened caramel dissolves again and mixture is warmed through.
Separate yolks and place them in the now empty measuring cup. Slowly pour warm caramel cream over your yolks while stirring constantly to temper your eggs.
Mix eggs back into the pan. Stir constantly until custard thickens and you can swipe a streak on the back of your spoon or spatula.
Strain through mesh strainer and into reserved cream. Press on the coconut in the strainer to get every good flavor through them discard solids. Stir custard to blend then cool on counter until no longer steaming (about half an hour).
Chill overnight in you refrigerator then churn according to you ice cream machine’s instructions.