This week Deborah chose Toasted Coconut Ice Cream from the David Lebovitz ice cream bible, The Perfect Scoop. I love coconut, and the scent of toasted coconut filled the kitchen. This is a great ice cream.
I decided to bake something coconut to go with it, and browsed one of my all-time favorite cooking blogs, Cream Puffs in Venice.
I made a half batch of these cupcakes (still got 18 regular size cupcakes), but both the batter, and the cream cheese-coconut frosting are incredible. For the cupcakes, scroll down past that heavenly looking coconut cream cake! "Cream Puff" is one of my baking idols. Thanks, Cream Puff!
I'm not kidding... These are the BEST cupcakes! Can you almost taste it? There will be some happy people at work this week!
TOASTED COCONUT ICE CREAM Makes about 1 quart
1 cup dried shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened(I used sweetened, and it was fine)
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
Big pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon rum
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring it frequently so it toasts evenly. Remove it from the oven when it's golden brown.
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, 1 cup of the heavy cream, sugar and salt and add the toasted coconut. Use a paring knife, and scrape all of the vanilla seeds into the warm milk, then add the pod as well. Cover, remove from heat, and let steep at room temp for 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 very firmly with a flexible spatula to extract as much flavor as possible. Remove the vanilla bean pieces and discard the coconut.
Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a larger 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 the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.