I wasn’t exactly sure what to call this frozen treat. Among the contenders: coconut ice cream, coconut sorbet, coconut sherbet, haupia ice cream, haupia sorbet and haupia sherbet.
I know that there are rules for what constitutes an ice cream, sherbet and/or sorbet, but it seems like they’re pretty widely ignored. So I just went with what seemed like the most straightforward term to describe this rich and creamy frozen dessert.
The recipe relies solely on canned coconut milk as its liquid base. So if you’re not a super fan of straight coconut milk, you’re probably better off swapping up to half of the coconut milk for half-and-half or even heavy cream to help mellow out the strong coconut flavor.
But for those of you who love coconut milk, this ice cream will be right up your alley. If you’re familiar with Hawaiian and/or tropical desserts, it’ll probably remind you of haupia. It uses the same basic ingredients– coconut milk, cornstarch and sugar– but instead of turning the ingredients into gelatin-like squares, you end up with a dazzling white frozen dessert. Although you can surely eat the ice cream plain, a sprinkle of toasted coconut adds a lovely touch of color and texture.
Coconut Ice Cream
Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 4+ hours
* Two 15-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk, divided
* 3/4 cup sugar
* pinch salt
* 2-1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
* dried, unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted (optional)
Combine all but 1/4 cup of the coconut milk, sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut milk until smooth. Add to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and can coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 3-4 hours, or up to 24 hours.
Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve with a sprinkle of toasted coconut, if desired.