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Vegan Thai coconut and custard apple ice cream

Thai cuisine has used coconut milk, instead of cream or eggs, to make creamy and delicious ice creams. These ice creams are vegan, and trust me, you will not miss the real stuff.

I love custard apples, also called as cherimoyas in Central and South America, and the season has just started in India. You see them everywhere, in the stores, on the street in carts and as large piles on the sidewalks sold by street vendors. They are quite hard to miss and resist.

This is a very simple and delicate ice cream. The delicate custard apple pulp is infused with coconut milk and a touch of sugar, if needed. A use a couple of tricks, I purée the pulp in a blender and work the mix through a fine mesh sieve to remove any granular bits, it does not get rid of all of them but helps a lot. In addition, I add just a touch of sugar if needed, the flavor of the custard apple is very mild and can easily get drowned out by the coconut milk and sugar. Find a delicate balance for the most perfect creamy ice cream.

This is a thin volume containing some superb recipes, most of them using alcohol as an ingredient or as a flavoring agent. Beautifully designed recipes produce amazing gelatos, ones that I find hard to stay away from.

For more recipes from this cookbook, click here. Photo credit Nisha Bilgrami


4 large custard apples

1/3 cup coconut milk

Sugar to taste, about 5-7 tablespoons, if needed

Shaved desiccated coconut shavings

Remove the seeds and skin from the custard apples. Put most of the pulp into a small blender and purée till very smooth. The rest of the pulp is kept if you would like pieces of the custard apple in the ice cream. Work the purée through a fine sieve strainer with a rubber spatula to get rid of as much of the granular pulp as possible.

Mix in the coconut milk and custard apple meat, if set aside, and taste for sweetness. To add sugar if needed, purée the sugar with a bit of the purée and coconut milk mix and add back to the bowl. Taste again.

Churn as per the manufacturer's instructions or in the freezer.

While the ice cream is churning, lay the shaved desiccated coconut in a single layer and bake in the oven for 3-5 minutes till lightly toasted> allow to cool. You can also buy these ready, do so, it is so much easier.

To serve, scoop the ice cream into bowls and top with a piece, or two, of toasted coconut.

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