My father mentioned it a few weeks back: a local ice cream contest. He had signed us up as a team because, wouldn't it be fun. To make a batch of ice cream. To make it really great. He would let me choose the recipe, and then we could make it together, collaborate.
And that we did.
Avocado coconut ice cream. It's been my favorite for years. It is light on the avocado, mellow with the coconut, and as smooth as if it had a custard base. The flavor, I tell you, it's haunting.
But I had to do some convincing to get dad on board. I said, trust me, it's good. Trust me, the texture is amazing. Trust me. Trust me.
He did, just enough.
But by the time we added the last of the lime and we had dirtied half the spoons tasting and tasting some more, he was practically dancing. That's really good, he kept saying. That, that - that, we might have something here. Because we did. And the collaboration started.
The original plan was to enter one batch. One batch! But when we got to thinking and my father got to tinkering, we ended up making three. One straight avocado-coconut (my favorite). One avocado-coconut with chocolate (the kids' favorite). And one more avocado-coconut with a coffee twist: mocha almond fudge (everybody's favorite). And that's what won the contest.
Yup - Mocha Almond Fudge with an avocado-coconut base. It won. Talk about collaboration. I would never have thought to enter a contest. And I wouldn't have tampered with the recipe.
So, thanks, dad! Now we don't just have one recipe to dote on. We have three!
Avocado-Coconut Ice Cream, Three Ways
What the photographs don't really show (and what makes the ice cream work so well) is the smoothness of the final texture. Avocado does what egg yolks do in a custard-based ice cream. It emulsifies it, thickens it, and deepens the flavor. I love custard ice creams, but in the summer I crave lighter fare. Even the beloved egg gets less attention. Avocado makes up for that. In the mocha and chocolate variations, you can't even taste it. Which is a good thing.
And! This recipe has a little cream in it, but if you need/want a vegan or dairy-free ice cream, just skip the cream and use all coconut milk instead. It's what I'll be trying next time. When I do, I'll increase the avocado by a tablespoon or two as well, to keep the flavors balanced.
1 can whole fat coconut milk
1/2 cup cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 cup avocado, scooped from its skin and mashed smooth
pinch of salt
Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl. There will likely very small bits of avocado - that's OK. Most of it will blend smooth.
Refrigerate for at least four hours, or until very cold. (Overnight is convenient.) I like to stash my ice cream storage container (glass) in in the freezer at the same time. Helps during heat waves. When it is ready, freeze according to the manufacturer's directions.
It will be the texture of soft serve ice cream. The straight avocado-coconut and the chocolate work just fine right away. If you make the mocha almond fudge, or if you want perfect scoops, let it harden in the freezer for four hours before serving. Enjoy!!
Chocolate Variation: Add to the ingredients 6-8 tablespoons organic chocolate syrup (I used Santa Cruz), or equivalent. Proceed as usual with the base recipe.
Mocha Variation: Bring 1 cup cream to boiling point on the stove. Add coffee beans, cover, let steep for 1 hour at room temperature and then transfer to the refrigerator for 3 hours.
Meanwhile, make the fudge ripple*.
When the coffee has steeped, heat the pot gently until liquid again. Strain the the cream off the beans. You need to have half a cup. Measure and add more cream as needed to bring it up to the half cup mark. Add also to the ingredients list 1 tablespoon organic chocolate syrup (or equivalent - next time I'll use the fudge ripple) and 1 teaspoon high-quality instant coffee. We used what we could find: Starbucks single serve. Proceed as usual with the base recipe, stirring in at the end 1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds, and layering the fudge ripple into the ice cream container. Don't stir. Don't get too creative. Layer as evenly as possible. Let this variation set up before serving, at least four hours. It will swirl when you scoop.
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup organic corn syrup
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
large pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
With a heatproof spatula, stir together ripple ingredients in a small pot set over medium heat until mixture begins to boil. Continue to stir and let boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Let cool completely, then refrigerate until very cold. It will be quite liquid. This makes enough for two batches of ice cream.
(Mocha concept and Ripple recipe adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.)
And thank you to my sister, Mara, who snapped the photos of me!