Thursday, November 19, 2009

November 15, 2009: Mango-coconut spliced icecream

This week was the optimal time to kick off a new season of icecream making. The weather was warm, a mango was ripening dangerously in the fruit bowl, and I wanted to make a light-ish dessert for our Sunday night guests. David Lebovitz’s Perfect Scoop index indicated that mango sorbet was the go, though I only had enough mango for a half-batch. David didn’t leave me hangin’, noting at the end of the recipe that it goes brilliantly swirled through his toasted coconut icecream. Sold! I stocked up on the required ingredients and only then felt the first pang of uncertainty when I read the recipe method properly.

There’s no coconut in the custard. I mean, there is coconut in the custard during the process, but it’s just supposed to infuse everything with its flavour and get strained out. I was skeptical, even when the coconut came out of the oven so fragrant, and an hour later when the coconut-custard mix tasted so golden-sweet. The flavour did dull down when it was diluted with more cream, but there was no denying that toasty tropical aftertaste. The infusion actually worked! (I’ll never doubt you again, David Lebovitz.)

A pastry chef by training and eternal connoisseur of all things sweet, David doesn’t do short cuts – his recipes involve an irritating number of saucepans and bowls and ice-baths. The rich custards of egg yolks, whole milk and cream seem distinctly French, and defy veganisation. But the superb results cannot be denied.

The mango sorbet on the other hand, is both vegan-friendly and lazy cook-friendly – everything just gets pureed together in a food processor. I didn’t even churn it, simply layering the mango between fluffy cream clouds. The sorbet was probably a little icier than it needed to be, but it made a refreshing contrast to the much heavier coconut custard.

Mango-coconut spliced icecream
(based on David Lebovitz's recipes for toasted coconut icecream and mango sorbet in The Perfect Scoop)

toasted coconut custard
1 cup dried shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup milk
2 cups cream
3/4 cup castor sugar
generous pinch salt
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla

mango sorbet swirl
1 large ripe mango
1/3 cup castor sugar
1/3 cup water
juice of one lime
2 teaspoons Cointreau
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 175ºC. Spread the coconut on a baking tray and bake it for 5-8 minutes, stirring it at least twice, until it's fragrant and golden brown.

In a medium saucepan over gentle heat, stir together the milk, half of the cream, the sugar and salt, until the sugar has dissolved. Stir through the shredded coconut. Remove the mixture from the heat, cover it and allow it to infuse for an hour.

Reheat the coconut cream, then strain out the coconut - press down firmly on the coconut to extract as much liquid as possible. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Whisk in a little of the warm coconut-infused cream, then pour it all back into the saucepan. Whisk the eggs through the cream mixture, returning this saucepan to medium heat and stirring until the custard thickens.

Pour the remaining cream into a large bowl and strain the custard into the bowl. Stir them together well, adding the bourbon vanilla along the way. Chill the mixture thoroughly.

Cut the mango flesh away from the pit and place it in a food processor. Add the remaining sorbet ingredients to the food processor and puree the lot until it's smooth.

Churn the toasted coconut custard in an icecream maker until fluffy (mine took 20 minutes). Layer the toasted coconut and mango mixtures in a container before freezing the icecream for at least 4 hours.


  1. Oh yes, I need to find a summer day to do this! It sounds outrageously good.