To those of you who follow this blog, this admission will come as no surprise: I’m lactose intolerant. Not fun, for sure, when you love cheese and ice cream and cappuccino. Luckily, in this day and age, those of us who suffer this affliction don’t actually have to miss out on too much. I sometimes buy lactose-free milk, a little cheese doesn’t seem to bother me too much, and ice cream … well … there’s soy-based, almond milk-based and, my new favourite, coconut milk-based ice cream. A lot of better grocery stores stock it now; look for So Delicious and Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss.
I buy it pre-made sometimes, but mostly I like to make it myself. It’s guaranteed fresh, and I can flavour it in any way I’d like. This weekend I made dark chocolate coconut ice cream in about 30 minutes. I make ice cream flavours in small batches because I like the variety, but also because my ice cream maker only holds about one litre of liquid max. Since my ice cream-making adventure was born from a craving for chocolate ice-cream, I just used the So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage that already happened to be in my fridge. Although the carton doesn’t specify, I’m guessing that the coconut milk is of the light variety meaning that most of the fat as been removed. It will work in a pinch or if you want a lighter ice cream. But, for that full-on creamy mouthfeel, make sure to use a thick, heavy, full-fat version of coconut milk.
You can use cocoa powder for the chocolate, or melt your favourite chocolate bar in the coconut milk. I used a product called Haute Chocolate made by Sweet Lollapalooza in Edmonton. It’s basically chunks of pure chocolate that have been ground to a medium grind. It’s a little like taking a mallet to chocolate chips; some pieces will be small and fine, others will be larger. Melt it in hot coconut milk gives the final ice cream a full-on chocolate flavour.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to stop in to Sweet Lollapalooza during my three-day-stay in Edmonton. The store is located on the lower concourse level of the Commerce Place shopping centre – an unexpected location for a boutique chocolate shop specializing in a small line of fresh and hand-made chocolate. Owner and chocolatier Brett Roy is a trained chef and originally from Australia. He’s worked in a long list of top tier restaurants alongside respected chefs. Along with Valrhona chocolate, Brett used the rare Pure Nacional chocolate that gives his creations incredible flavour. Need a reason to travel to Edmonton? Brett’s shop is one good one.
Freshly melted chocolate pouring out. Does anyone have a spoon?!
Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream
This recipe is my first attempt at making coconut milk-based ice cream. I found that beating the egg yolks with the sugar until they were super fluffy, thick and pale in colour is part of the secret to a creamy mouthfeel in the finished product. Next time, I’m going to use a full fat variety of coconut milk and increase the egg yolks to a total of five. That, I imagine, will produce an absolutely heavenly bowlful of ice cream.
3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or melted chocolate
3 large egg yolks
1. Heat coconut milk until warm enough to melt the chocolate. If using powder, add the milk a spoonful at a time to the powder and stir to make a paste. Then add it to the rest of the milk.
2. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks with sugar until fluffy, thick and very pale in colour.
3. Combine all ingredients in the top of a double boiler. Stir until custard coats the back of the spoon. This step ensures not only that the egg yolks will be cooked, but also that some of the water in the milk will evaporate leaving a thick, cream-like base.
4. Add to ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Place in a sealable container and store in the freezer.