Ginger coconut ice cream

April 10, 2008 at 5:03 pm (food, ice cream, recipes)

I had some coconut milk that I wanted to use up (actually, some frozen grated coconut that I thought I could squeeze milk out of, but it turned out to be the wrong kind… young coconut and not old coconut). So I decided to make some ice cream. What goes with coconut? To get some ideas, I flipped through The Perfect Scoop and when I saw the fresh ginger ice cream, I knew what had to be done – ginger coconut ice cream!

So I could definitely use the strategy for getting ginger infused ice cream from the fresh ginger recipe, but now I had to figure out how to get the coconut milk in. The recipe for coconut ice cream only used cow milk. There was a pina colada sherbet recipe that used coconut milk, but that wasn’t going to be as creamy as I wanted it to be. So I decided to add coconut milk to the basic milk and cream combo and fiddle with the ratios until I got the right amount percentage of fat and the right volume. The book’s standard ice cream recipe has 1 cup of milk:2 cups of heavy cream. I modified that (with the help of Excel and looking up the percentages of fat in different types of milk) to be 1/2 cup cow milk:1 1/2 cup coconut milk:1 cup heavy cream. Added bonuses: this ratio seemed like it would have a good balance of coconut flavor. And 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk is exactly one standard sized can of coconut milk!


The full recipe:

  • 3 oz. unpeeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Thinly slice the ginger (doesn’t have to be peeled) and cover slices with about 1 – 2 cm water in a pot. After boiling for 2 min, pour off all the water.
  2. Add the cow milk, coconut milk, and sugar to the pot with the ginger and heat it until it’s warm. Cover the pot and let the ginger steep for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl.
  4. Pour the heavy cream in the container that will be the eventual chilling place for the custard.
  5. After an hour of steeping, remove the ginger with a slotted spoon (You’ll strain it more thoroughly later). Rewarm the milk mixture. Slowly pour milk mixture into the egg yolks, making sure to whisk the egg yolks constantly and thoroughly. No scrambled eggs!
  6. Return everything to your pot. Heat the custard until it is thickened so that it passes the wooden spoon test (custard coats a wooden spoon and doesn’t drip or flow after you pass your finger through it). If you have a heat-proof spatula, use it to stir and scrape the bottom constantly. If you have a whisk, use that, but make sure you get into the corners of the pot.
  7. Strain the thickened custard into the heavy cream.
  8. Chill this mixture for at least 8 hours until it is thoroughly chilled. Then it’s ready for your ice cream machine!

The final result of my experiment (standing on the shoulders of giants) was pretty tasty. Perfect balance of coconutty richness, subtle sweetness, and zingy gingeryness.  My one complaint is that it was a little on the icy side. So to fix that, I could either add more sugar to the recipe (but I like the subtle level of sweetness now) or I could add more fat. But actually, I think I need to do nothing to the recipe and next time, just make sure that I don’t make scrambled eggs in the corners of the pot when I’m thickening the custard. It’s likely that the fat that I lost to the scrambled eggs would be enough to make the ice cream smoother next time.



  1. Happy Birthday Christina! « Babbling Blueberry said,

    […] After the cardamom is done steeping in the cream, remove the pods and save them. Reheat the cream and make custard with the heated cream and egg yolks. […]

  2. Peter Lichtenstein said,

    Add a 1/4 tsp of either Guar Gum or Xanthum Gum to the recipe… Both natural ingredients. That should stop the icing up and make it very creamy!

  3. amanda said,

    Making this today – can’t wait! 🙂

  4. fresh « little cumulus said,

    […] making ginger-coconut ice cream today. I’m kind of freaking out about that, too. I’m such a […]

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