When I was small, the greatest treat imaginable was going to my granny’s local Chinese restaurant, and – after the preamble of dinner itself, and an ill-advised number of prawn crackers – being allowed coconut ice cream, served in half a coconut. It was the most glamorous thing I could possibly imagine. There were lemon and orange varieties available on the menu, but they held no interest when coconut was present. To this day, coconut ice cream still holds a certain magic for me.
Even without the whimsical coconut-in-coconut presentation that seemed revolutionary and avant-garde to 10-year-old me, coconut ice cream is an easy winner. Rich and sweet, mellow but aromatic: coconut cries out to be stirred into something cool and creamy, and this is one of my favourite vehicles for it.
I’ve written about no churn ice cream before: it’s a dream to make, as well as as to eat. It does what it says on the (condensed milk) tin: it doesn’t require churning, or any custard-base cooking, nor do you need to find time or space in your freezer to chill down a chamber before you begin. The condensed milk gives a very slightly chewy texture, and by not churning, it melts faster than normal ice cream, making it smooth and creamy to eat.
The combination of coconut milk and creamed coconut make this ice cream intensely coconutty and perfumed, with – thanks to the creamed coconut – the slightest nubbly texture. It’s great on its own, but try painting pineapple rings with rum and tossing in caster sugar before pan-frying or roasting on a high heat until the fruit is burnished and caramelised, for a spectacular pudding.
No churn coconut ice cream
Makes: 1 litre ice cream
Takes: 10 minutes
Bakes: 4 hours of chilling
300ml double cream
397g sweetened condensed milk
200g coconut milk (full fat)
100g creamed coconut, soft
1. Whisk the cream in a large bowl until it reaches medium peaks: the cream will hold its own weight, and when you lift out the whisk, peaks will form but they will bend over at the end.
2. Stir in the condensed milk, coconut milk, and coconut cream. Pour into tubs with lids, and freeze for at least four hours, ideally overnight.
3. Remove from the freezer about 10-20 minutes before serving for the ice cream to soften – this is best done in the fridge to avoid it melting too much in the hot weather!