Sunday, July 9, 2017

Gosh, I love food: The tropical ice cream edition

Three weeks ago while climbing a mountain, squinting into the sun because I forgot my hat, hoping my pale various-parts-of-European skin wasn't frying in the northern Arizona sun, I thought about lasagna.

Haha, just kidding! I obviously thought about ice cream. Specifically, making ice cream.

My first thought was caramel apple cider ice cream, which sounds amazing and which, believe you me, I have not abandoned. But caramel apple cider is an October flavor, not a sunny June flavor. And more importantly, not a flavor I could make without buying a lot of ingredients.

However. I had fresh pineapple, coconut, macadamia nuts left over from white chocolate macadamia nut cookies (truly the most pointless of the cookie genre) and coconut milk. And tropical ice cream was born!

I should note: This is fairly light ice cream -- not for healthy purposes, which everyone should know is not my style. But light tropical flavors seem more akin to lighter, icier ice cream. There are a couple of things you can do, noted at the bottom, if you want something more like gelato.

13.5-ounce can of coconut milk
Whole milk
Half and half
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon each of vanilla, rum and coconut extract

Pineapple slurry
2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 cup simple syrup (Cook 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water until it thickens.)

1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

1. Pour the can of coconut milk into a pot. Fill the can with milk and add it, then do the same with half and half.*
2. Cook over low heat, adding sugar about a quarter of a cup at a time, until it's very warm but not boiling. If you haven't heard this rant before, I'll do it again: Never EVER boil ice cream.
3. Mix the egg yolks in a bowl. When the custard is hot, add one cup to the yolks and whisk.**
4. While whisking the custard, return the egg yolk mixture to the custard. Continue cooking and stirring over medium-low heat for about 6-8 minutes. It will not get terribly thick. It's OK.
Note: If you sample the custard while you cook, which, hello, you should definitely be doing, you'll  notice this isn't very sweet. You may be tempted to add more. Don't. Trust me. While I'm not the sugariest of dessertmakers, know this is not a recipe akin to my 85% chocolate. You'll add in more sugar later.
5. Let cool for an hour, then add the flavorings and whisk. If you don't have any of the others, add a full tablespoon of vanilla. Refrigerate for four hours or overnight.
6. Begin freezing the ice cream according to your ice cream maker's instruction. While that's going, make the pineapple slurry: pineapple and simple syrup in the blender until it's homogenous.
7. About 20 minutes into the freezing, add the pineapple slurry.
8. Toast the coconut and nuts. Watch these carefully; coconut especially can go from perfectly toasted to burnt in a very short amount of time.
9. When the ice cream is almost done -- my ice cream freezer sounds like a dying cow when it's finishing -- add the coconut and nuts. The whole thing comes out in a delightful soft-serve consistency. If you lick the paddle of your freezer I will not judge you.

45 minutes of mixing and look at all that goodness.


Other ice cream recipes to enjoy: Strawberry lemon ice cream

* If you want to make this thicker and more custardy, you can substitute heavy cream for half and half. 
** Again, if you want thicker custard, add one or two more egg yolks. The process is exactly the same otherwise.