Home is all I can seem to think about these days. I remember it with the smell of wet pavement, the first bite of a spam musubi, dinner with a man who spoke in that half english/half pidgin lilt of a local guy. In college, the longest I was ever gone from home was just 4 months. I’d even spend the entirety of summer break at home too. I don’t crave Hawaii like I used to when I first moved out to California. For the most part, I’ve learned to love this city too. But after eight months away, I’ve noticed this insatiable and relentless craving for sun, humidity, waking up to the birds singing outside my window, spicy ahi, puppy kisses, and my family and friends. BUT JUST 8 MORE DAYS!!! Currently feeling like that happy Pineapple guy down there.
I made this coconut ice cream a few weeks ago, when I was trying to find ways to use up 16 egg yolks thanks to those two Pavlovas from a few posts back! I’m a little weird when it comes to coconut. I don’t get insanely excited about it until the flavor hits my tastebuds. That’s when my “like” for it suddenly turns to this undying love and I can’t get enough. But to be clear, I love haupia all the time.
One of the special things about 7th grade at my school meant spending a week up on the North Shore with your class. We stayed in cabins next to the beach and did bonding and responsibility exercises. During our free time, most of us would spend it playing on the beach. That’s where I saw my first coconut. Now, I don’t mean the first coconut I’d ever seen. I grew up on and island and I’d seen plenty of them. What was different about this coconut was it was the first time I’d seen one on the beach that was dehusked and the shell unbroken. A few years prior, in 3rd grade, we learned how to crack open coconuts with. But all that knowledge must have went in one ear and out the next, because I just ended up throwing it repeatedly against a giant rock until it split open. The shell broke in two and I sprinted over to find bright white and perfect coconut meat inside. I shared it with my friends, beaming over how what we were eating had come straight from nature. For all I know, some guy carrying a giant box of coconuts had accidentally dropped one as he passed by. But I’ll let pre-teen me revel in this accomplishment.
Sooo… coconut ice cream, piña coladas. That makes perfect sense, right? I was a little hesitant about sharing this post for fear of admitting my childhood love for (non-alcoholic!!!!) Piña Coladas. I guess, it’s kind of like how Roy makes me order lava flows for him at restaurants because he doesn’t want to appear girly. But he loves lava flows and shirley temples. I felt like I’m not allowed to love such a touristy drink as much as I do!
But let me explain why. My family would travel to the neighbor islands almost every summer with my mom’s best friend and her family. We spent weeks on Maui, Kauai, Lanai, and the Big Island. I remember endless pools and waterslides and sporting an insane rash guard tan. It was always heart-wrenching when my Mom forced me to cut off my collection of hotel pool wristbands once we got back home. One year we even rented a red convertible (because that’s just what you do as a tourist in Hawaii) and drove on the freeway with the top down, singing–yup, you guessed it–The Piña Colada Song. Shout out to Star Lord’s Awesome Mix Vol. 1!!!
Some years we would go to those luaus the hotel offers by the beach. Aside from my favorite Hawaiian foods, I would beg my mom to get me a Piña Colada (I’m guessing I wasn’t allowed to stand in line at the bar). To be honest, I don’t think I even realized till much later on that Piña Coladas were usually served with alcohol in them. And to be more honest, I’d still rather have a Piña Colada without any alcohol in it! I haven’t had one in years, but this drink holds such warm memories of my childhood summers as a tourist.
Piña Colada-fying this coconut ice cream was such a fun way to serve it, but it’s just as delicious on its own too. And decadent. So decadent! I’m still in awe that these scoops stood the test of the triple ice cream stack and I think that can definitely be attributed to all the heavy cream and yolks in there–but mostly because of this new ice cream scooper I got off Amazon. IT IS AMAZING. Oh! And if you wanna get your hands on these adorable drink umbrellas, you totally can as long as you have a printer handy!
Coconut Ice Cream | Piña Colada Style
Adapted from William Sonoma
Recipe makes about 1 quart.
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes, firmly packed
1 1/2 cups half & half
3/4 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
slices of pineapple
toasted coconut flakes for sprinkling
* printable drink umbrellas
1. In a large saucepan, heat the coconut flakes over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the flakes begin to brown.
2. Add the half & half and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid and let stand for 30 minutes. Afterwards, run the mixture through a mesh sieve. Discard the coconut flakes and return the liquid back to the saucepan. Make sure to squeeze out as much of the liquid from the coconut flakes as possible before disposing of it.
3. Heat the coconut liquid over medium-high heat and add in the coconut cream. Bring to a boil, then remove immediately from the heat. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together your egg yolks and sugar till combined. Temper the yolks by adding in the hot cream mixture a little at a time, whisking constantly so the yolks do not curdle. When all the liquid has been mixed with the egg yolks, transfer back into the saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to a custard. The custard is ready if the mixture can coat the back of a spoon and running your finger along the back leaves an open channel. Make sure the custard does not boil!
5. Run the custard through a strainer and into a clean bowl. Stir in the heavy cream and let cool to room temperature (you can also use an ice bath to cool it down faster). Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic touches the surface of the custard. Let it chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.
6. The next day, remove the chilled custard from the fridge and follow the instructions for your ice cream machine. Transfer the soft ice cream to an air tight container and freeze for a few hours before serving.
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