It's Valentine's Day, and I'm in love. His name is David, and he makes my eyes light up with anticipation and my tongue tingle. In the midst of this icy cold winter, he is heating me up with his warm-weather flavors and allowing me to pretend for a few blissful moments that it's not -5 outside. I met him almost a year ago now, and, if my husband's approval of him is any measure, I think our relationship is going pretty well.
So well, in fact, that I decided to share him. Like everyone else I know, my husband and I celebrated Valentine's Day on Saturday night, and I cooked him Thai food. I made Thai Lemon Shrimp (the recipe can be found here) from Closet Cooking; the same blog I used for my green tomatoes over the summer. I served the shrimp with stir-fried vegetables from here and plain white rice. Dessert is where David came in. David Lebovitz, that is. We had one of his lovely ice-creams from The Perfect Scoop. After infusing toasted coconut into warm cream and sugar, you make a quick custard (see tips passed on from David, below) and then freeze it in your ice-cream maker. Then, if you wish, you swirl it with mango sorbet (technique below). I cheated and used store-bought sorbet (I like Haagen Dazs), but David has a recipe for that, too. (See why I adore him?) I also added sweetened flaked coconut to the ice-cream after it had been in the ice-cream maker for 20 minutes.
Today, the temperature rose to 57 degrees and we had David's coconut mango ice cream for dessert once again. I am, like the groundhog, anticipating a swifty spring arrival. But in the meantime, David's ice-cream will have to suffice.
David's Toasted Coconut Ice-Cream Swirled with Mango Sorbet
1 cup dried shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened
1 cup whole milk
2 c heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
Big pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
5 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract, or 1 tsp rum
Toast the coconut at 350 for about 5 minutes, or until golden. Meanwhile, warm the milk, 1 cup of the heavy cream, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Add the toasted coconut. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the milk, then add the pod as well. Cover, remove from heat, and let steep at room temperature 1 hour.
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 to extract as much flavor as possible. (A rubber spatula works well for this.) Remove the vanilla bean seeds and the coconut and reserve for another use.
Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and set the mesh strainer on top. 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, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Mix in the vanilla or rum and stir until cool over an ice bath. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least four hours but perhaps more), then freeze it in your ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.
My notes: I skipped the vanilla altogether but did add 1 tsp rum. You could add 1 tsp vanilla in place of the vanilla bean (just add it at the end after the mixture has been warmed). I also added sweetened flaked coconut to the ice-cream as a "mix-in" after it had been mixing in the ice-cream maker for 20 minutes.
To "swirl" two ice-creams: Alternate scoops of two different ice-creams (or ice-cream and sorbet) in a large dish that can be covered. Smooth the top and bang the dish on the counter to release air bubbles. Repeat with remaining scoops.
To fix a broken custard (one that has curdled): Blend the warm custard before straining it.
How to know your custard is done cooking: Ice-cream custard is ready when steam starts rising from the pan. You can also tell by the fact that the custard will coat the back of a spoon. When you run your finger across the back of the spoon, the custard should hold its shape and not run over your finger line. The custard will seem thin, but it's ready.