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Thai coconut ice cream

by Nisha Thomas
Thai coconut ice cream

Thai coconut ice cream

PT1H

 
 

Why not try?

I have fond memories of my trip to Thailand a few years ago. We did a week long holiday in Bangkok and Pattaya, relaxing on the pristine white sandy beaches, taking scuba diving lessons, visiting the gorgeous temples, and of course, the most interesting bit about any holiday for me, the food. From street side small eateries to markets to restaurants to bars, we tried it all. The food was simply fabulous, and nothing like I've had elsewhere. I have tried to recreate many a dishes from my Thailand holiday, hitting the right note on a lot of them, but failing to get the taste right on a few others. Of course, the Thai green and red curries are a staple at mine, and although I haven't perfected the Pad Thai, it tops the list of my must have dishes at a Thai restaurant.

Coconut is used in abundance in Thai cooking and coming from the Southern-most state of India, Kerala, I'm not averse to the use of coconut in excess. From the land of coconut curries, soufflés and desserts, coconut ice cream didn't come as a surprise to me. It's a delicious one that can be whipped up in no time, and with very few ingredients.

A lot of you might be easily put off by the coconut flavour in an ice cream, but trust me, this recipe is a fine balance of coconut and cream, without either of them overpowering, yet the subtle taste of coconut coming through. The desiccated coconut adds some texture to the creaminess and works brilliantly. The ice cream is not really sweet, so a generous drizzle of caramel sauce does no harm to the outcome. It lifts the flavours a tad more, and anyway put warm caramel on anything and you can't go wrong!

The recipe can be easily halved, using 2 egg yolks and double cream can be replaced with single cream too, if you needed to get rid of some from your fridge. I used coconut milk from a can, which was pretty thick, so if using coconut cream then dilute it with a little bit of water to make 150 ml. Of course, if you did want the coconut flavour to come through more aggressively then increase it to around 200 ml and reduce the cream quantities accordingly. It's a pretty forgiving recipe and you really can't go wrong with it.

Serve in mini waffle cones, if desired.

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

1
For the caramel sauce, heat the sugar in a heavy bottomed pan on medium-high heat. Resist the urge to prod and stir, and wait for the sugar to caramelise. This may take a while, so be patient. You can swirl the pan to make sure the sugar melts evenly
2
Once the sugar is completely melted and the caramel starts to bubble, take the pan off the heat and add the butter - it will bubble up. Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate the butter into the caramel
3
Once all of the butter has melted, pour in the double cream. Again, it will bubble up, but keep stirring until you get a silky smooth caramel sauce
4
Transfer to a clean jar and leave to cool to room temperature. The sauce can keep in a refrigerator for up to two weeks, or it can be easily frozen. To use after freezing, warm it up gently and pour over your favourite ice cream, or drizzle on cakes and brownies
5
To make the ice cream, add the double cream and coconut milk to a saucepan and scrape in the vanilla seeds along with the pod. Place the pan over medium high heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat and set aside to infuse for about 30 minutes or so
6
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and smooth
7
Bring the cream-coconut milk mix back to a simmer. While continuously whisking the egg, slowly pour in the cream. Pour the mix back into a saucepan and place over low heat
8
Keep stirring continuously until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon in a thin layer (you need to be careful and not overcook, or the custard will curdle). At this point, take the saucepan off heat and pass the custard through a sieve into a bowl
9
Allow to cool completely, laying a sheet of cling film on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. If you want to speed up this process, place the bowl over an ice bath and keep stirring until it turns cool
10
Once cool, you can either churn it in an ice cream maker, or, if you don't have one, pour the custard into an airtight container and freeze for about an hour or so, or until just about set
11
Take it out, whisk well to break the ice crystals that have formed and then put it back in the freezer and freeze until ready to serve
Freeze until ready to serve
 

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