On our not-so-recent Hawaiian vacation (I still miss the islands!) my daughter spied an ice cream shop selling Pineapple-Coconut ice cream and was instantly drooling at the thought. We bought some, and it was decadently creamy and coconut-y, but there was next to no pineapple, which made it somewhat disappointing given that “pineapple” was the first word in the name. I vowed then and there to make my own version, though as you’ll see below I didn’t technically keep that vow…
The coconut ice cream was simple– while I’ve made custard-based ice creams before, for this recipe I decided to go with an eggless base to ensure that the eggy richness of custard didn’t overpower the coconut flavor. It totally worked– the finished ice cream was creamy and coconut-y, and (unlike many homemade ice creams) scooped smoothly and easily right out of the freezer. I toasted half of the coconut to add an extra dimension of flavor and some texture, and really liked the result. All in all, an excellent ice cream.
I was planning on loading up the ice cream with crushed pineapple, but realized that frozen pineapple can be kind of hard and icy– probably one reason why the Hawaiian ice cream maker hadn’t included much of it. I decided not to try to incorporate it in the ice cream itself– instead, I roasted wedges of fresh pineapple with butter and brown sugar (with a splash of rum at the end for the grown-ups) and served it topped with softly melting scoops of the coconut ice cream.
That did the trick. Try it yourself and be culinarily transported to a tropical island…
Coconut Ice Cream
1 cup milk
1 14-oz can cream of coconut*
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups coconut flakes (or shredded coconut)**
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. coconut extract (optional)
* Be sure to use “cream of coconut,” which is a sticky-sweet mixer used in piña coladas. Do not use “coconut cream,” which is found next to the coconut milk and is just the richer, unsweetened part of coconut milk. I will note that for some reason my cream of coconut came out of the can looking faintly pinkish– it had no effect on flavor or texture, and no one got sick, so I’m assuming that this is just something that happens on occasion (internet searches turned up many people reporting similar color issues).
** If you use shredded coconut, you may want to chop it a bit to make it finer, or pulse it a few times in a food processor like I did.
(optional coconut toasting step)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Spread half of your coconut flakes onto the baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, to toast the coconut until pale golden brown.
3. Combine toasted and untoasted coconut flakes, and proceed with recipe.
4. In a bowl, whisk together cream of coconut, milk, heavy cream, salt, vanilla, and coconut extract (if using).
6. Chill thoroughly, and put the coconut flakes in the refrigerator as well to keep them cold.
7. Freeze ice cream base in ice cream maker according to instructions. As ice cream starts to thicken, add chilled coconut flakes and continue to churn until it firms up.
8. Transfer to container and freeze at least 4 hours before scooping.
1 fresh pineapple
3 tbs. dark brown sugar
2 tbs. butter
Dark rum (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Peel and core pineapple and slice into wedges (I got sixteen).
3. Arrange pineapple wedges in a baking dish and sprinkle with brown sugar. Turn to coat thoroughly.
4. Cut butter into tiny cubes and distribute over pineapple. Sprinkle salt over the top.
5. Roast pineapple for 30-40 minutes, until caramelized at the edges. Let cool slightly before serving with an optional dash of rum over the top. Alternatively, you can let it cool completely and reheat in the oven for a few minutes at 375 degrees F before serving with ice cream.