Long time, no see! Apologies for ghosting you all, but I was in the Caribbean last week, enjoying the sun, sand, and surf of Nevis. Nevis is an absolutely wonderful island where my friend Amanda and her family have been vacationing for her entire life. Her parents even own a home there, so when Kramer and I were asked if we’d like to join them for this past trip, we couldn’t buy plane tickets fast enough. It was absolutely dreamy and I keep looking at our vacation photos, trying to put myself back there. Amanda’s parents’ house is beautiful, with a big, white kitchen, a big patio, a pool, and a neighbor with the best dog ever named Snooker (not pictured below, but don’t worry, I’ll post photos of her, soon). Kramer and I felt like true VIPs during our trip, since Amanda and Matt knew everywhere to go and everyone to talk to. We didn’t have to do any of our usual vacation research, we just showed up and they told us where to eat, which beaches to go to, and where the best grocery stores were. It was perfect. Amanda’s mom’s kitchen was also amazing, obviously. There was a big, wash-basin-like sink (one of my many kitchen dreams), all of the tools you could possibly need, and, of course, an ice cream maker. Kramer insists that we don’t have room for an ice cream maker in our 650-square-foot Brooklyn apartment, and while he may be right, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have one anyway! That discussion is for another day, though, because I finally got to use an ice cream maker for the first time in my life and I was probably a little too excited about it.
I figured that I should start out with this toasted coconut ice cream, seeing as how it evokes tropical thoughts…and also, we had a bag of coconut to use. I meant to put the coconut in some cookies I made the night before, but I forgot and just make regular ol’ chocolate chip cookies, so my forgetfulness was actually a blessing in disguise (for once). I read over the recipe and figured, there’s never a better time than the present. I had never made ice cream before, not even the sweetened condensed milk, no ice cream maker variety, so I will admit I was a little wary. What if it didn’t freeze? It’s pretty hot and humid in the Caribbean, after all! But I went ahead with my little project anyway, figuring that if it didn’t work out, oh well, I’m on vacation, nobody has to know. Thankfully, the only hiccup came when I was churning the final mixture. It just wasn’t solidifying the way that ice cream should. So, I decided I’d put the ice cream in the freezer overnight. That’ll show it. And guess what? That’s all I needed to do, because the next day, it was perfectly frozen, but still creamy and custardy and absolutely delicious. Having said that, I do recommend making this the day before you plan to serve it, just in case you need some extra chilling time, like I did. It’s worth thinking ahead for: homemade ice cream rules. It’s so rich and luscious and unlike anything you could ever possibly buy in the store, probably because it’s only got a few ingredients, all of which are full-fat, full-sugar, and full of tasty goodness. I couldn’t resist buying sugar cones to scoop the ice cream into, and we all enjoyed ice cream for dessert on our final night in Nevis. Maybe this will finally convince Kramer to let me buy that oh-so-coveted ice cream maker after all?
These photos are so cute I’m dying inside.
Our hosts in Nevis, Matt and Amanda.
Mount Nevis and the amount of people that were always on the beach with us: zero.
Beach selfie, obvi.
Amanda making banana bread in her mom’s Nevisian kitchen. Isn’t it beautiful?
Toasting the coconut.
I just really liked this salt jar. Do you still call it a salt pig if it’s not a pig?
I got a little impatient toasting my coconut because I stupidly made this during the day in the Caribbean when it was hot as hell! So if you can get yours a little toastier than I got mine, by all means, go for it. This is as long as I could stand having the oven on.
Warming the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt.
Add in the coconut and let it steep.
While it steeps, read more recipes from David Lebovitz’s excellent ice cream book.
Strain the coconut from the milk and cream. The recipe originally said to throw the coconut away, but I added some back into my ice cream, because why not?
The eggs in Nevis were so bright!
Stir the warm milk into the beaten eggs slowly, so that the eggs don’t scramble, then heat until thickened.
Strain and chill.
Once you’ve churned it all up, this is what you get!
This is some of the creamiest ice cream I’ve ever had in my life, and coincidentally, my first time making ice cream. Happy summer!
- 1½ cups dried shredded coconut
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt or Maldon sea salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- Place your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer to make sure it's cold. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the coconut out on a baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes, stirring it frequently so it doesn't burn. When golden, remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a medium saucepan, heat up the milk, 1 cup of the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add in the toasted coconut. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour (I was a bit impatient and only let mine steep for about 30 minutes–it still tasted pretty damn good, but obviously longer is better).
- Rewarm the coconut-infused mixture. Set 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 from it as possible. Set the coconut aside.
- Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and set the mesh strainer on top of the bowl. 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 or rubber whisk, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula, for about 5 minutes, being careful not to let the mixture burn. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Stir in about a ⅓ of your leftover toasted coconut and discard the rest.. At this point, you can stir the custard over an ice bath to bring it down to room temperature, or you can just place it in an airtight container and pop it in the fridge to chill, as I did, for at least 1-2 hours.
- When you're ready, freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I found that the ice cream was still a bit soupy after churning in the ice cream maker for 30 minutes, so I popped it in the freezer for an hour, and after that, it was ready to go.