This Pineapple Toasted Coconut Ice Cream takes you to the tropical island that you dream of. It’s creamy and coconutty with pineapple jam swirls. Because the coconut is toasted, it also brings a little nuttiness and savoriness. Flavors are complex and robust. No doubt this ice cream has become one of my favorites!
When it comes to dessert, ice cream is always my number one choice. I can eat ice cream in the middle of winter or with a/c on in the middle of summer. I have made many ice cream over the years, like apple pie ice cream, fresh mint chocolate chip ice cream & Vietnamese coffee ice cream. They’re all really good, but this Pineapple Toasted Coconut one is special. I used fresh pineapple to make a jam, then swirl with a really coconutty coconut ice cream. The flavors are robust and memorable.
Before getting into the ice cream custard, need to get the pineapple jam ready first. Best to do it at least a day ahead. I called it a jam because it’s thick and reduced. But I didn’t add any pectin to help the mixture to get to gel like. It isn’t a problem in this recipe. The reduced pineapple works well. The jam isn’t too complicated. Cut the pineapple into small chunks. Add them into a saucepan with some sugar and little bit of water. Cook until the pineapple are soften slightly. Blend them in a blender with some more water until pretty smooth. Since the flesh of pineapple is a bit stringy, it won’t get to completely smooth. Return to the saucepan and cook some more. Taste and add more sugar if needed. It really depends on how sweet your pineapple is. The reduced pineapple should look a bit darker in color and with very little liquid left in the pan. Cool and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
When I was thinking to do a coconut ice cream, I was a bit worried that coconut flavor wouldn’t be strong enough. But man, I was wrong! The coconut really comes through in this ice cream. To start, toast the shredded coconut. Without any oil or anything, add the coconut into a saucepan. Stir and cook until they’re deep golden brown. Make sure not to walk away when doing this. It will take a few minutes before color starts to change, but when it does, it changes very quickly.
Now, scoop and save a little toasted coconut. They will be used as topping when serving. Keep the rest in the saucepan and add the liquid (coconut milk, cream, milk, sugar & salt). Cook until sugar has melted and the mixture is simmering. Then, whisk egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add 1/3 of the hot mixture into the eggs while whisking. Pour everything back to the saucepan and cook until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (170˚F). This is the custard.
Normally, once the custard is ready, it just need to be strain, cool down and chill. But for this recipe, let this mixture sit and steep (no heat and no lid) for 1 hour. That way, all the flavors in the toasted coconut can come out and get into the custard. After 1 hour, strain the mixture and press down on the coconut solids to squeeze out all the liquid. Discard the coconut solids. Chill the custard in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Finally, churn custard in an ice cream machine. The pineapple is added at the last minute. Just stir 1/2 cup in with the ice cream when transferring to an ice cream container. Let the ice cream freeze for a good 4 hours or more. Your patience will be rewarded. Don’t forget to serve the ice cream with some toasted coconut on top.
When you take a bite of this ice cream, you first get the strong coconut taste, then there is a sweet and intense pineapple flavor. Because the coconut is toasted, there is also little nutty and savory flavor too. It’s complex with layers of flavors. I love this ice cream so much, and I plan to make it again in 2 weeks. I can’t wait for you guys to try this!
Pineapple Toasted Coconut Ice Cream
- 1 cup plus ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- ½ cup pineapple jam
- 1 fresh ripe pineapple (about 4 cups)
- 1 cup sugar
- 7 tablespoons water
- First start with the pineapple jam at least a day ahead. Place the fresh pineapple on cutting board. Cut to remove the top stem and bottom, then trim and remove the skin. Next remove the eyes. Cut the pineapples into quarters lengthwise. Remove the cores and cut into small chunks. You should have about 4 cups of pineapples.
- In a medium saucepan, add pineapple, ½ cup sugar (not all) and 2 tablespoons water (not all). Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce to medium-low heat, cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes.
- Transfer the pineapples with juice to a blender. Add 5 tablespoons water. Blend until pretty smooth. Pour back to the saucepan. Taste and adjust with more sugar if needed (I added ½ cup). Cook over medium-low heat until almost all liquid has evaporated and the color of the pineapple has darkened a little, about 15 minutes, stirring often. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for overnight or up to 2 weeks.
- For the ice cream, start with toasted coconut. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add the shredded coconut. Stir and toast until deeply golden brown, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Scoop out ¼ cup toasted coconut to a plate to cool down. When cooled, transfer to a small Ziploc bag. This will be used as topping later.
- In the meantime, keep the rest of the coconut in the saucepan, add coconut milk, heavy cream, whole milk, sugar and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture is simmering and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale, about 2 minutes. While whisking, slowly pour 1/3 of hot cream into the yolks. Then whisk the yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the cream. Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170˚F on an instant thermometer), stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let steep for 1 hour (without lid).
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, press down on the coconut to squeeze out all the liquid. It should be about 3 cups of mixture. Discard the coconut. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 4 hours or overnight.
- When ready to churn the ice cream. Pour the mixture into an ice-cream maker by following the ice-cream maker instruction. Transfer 1/3 of ice cream into a container. Add 1/3 of pineapple jam and stir with a spoon to make swirls. It doesn’t need to mix well. Add another 1/3 of ice cream and 1/3 of pineapple jam, do another round of swirls. Spoon the rest of the ice cream into the container and the last 1/3 of jam. Swirl a couple more times. Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
- When ready to serve, scoop ice cream to serving bowls and sprinkle some reserved toasted coconut on top. Serve.
- If you can’t find fresh pineapple, use frozen pineapple chunks. But make sure they are pineapples only without added sugar.
- Since not every pineapple is the same sweetness, only add half of the sugar at the beginning. Add more after blending if needed. The jam should be sweet with a little tanginess, but not overly sweet.
- There will be leftover pineapple jam. It can last in the fridge for at least 2 weeks. It’s great on yogurt, toast and cheese.
- Make sure the shredded coconut is unsweetened. I used Bob’s Red Mill.
- When toasting coconut, be patient and don’t walk away. It will take a few minutes until the coconut starts to brown. But once it started, it will turn brown very quickly. Keep stirring to brown more evenly.
- My go-to coconut milk brand is Aroy-D.
- If you don’t have a fine-mesh sieve, you can use a combination of cheese cloth and colander instead.