Paleo Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream

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Coconut ice cream

The good news is that you don’t have to say goodbye to ice cream when following the Paleo diet. The bad news is that you’ll absolutely have to make it yourself. Some health food stores now offer a coconut milk alternative to regular ice cream, but I think it still contains some nasty ingredients. Making it yourself can actually be fun and rewarding. You’ll impress everybody when they’ll learn that you made the ice cream yourself from A to Z and you have much more control over the final result.

This recipe is 100% Paleo and while you have to possibility to add some sugary indulgences like dark chocolate or honey in it, it’s completely up to you and you don’t have to add anything sugary to get a great result that’ll please everybody. You can leave it plain like your usual vanilla ice cream or add any of your favorite flavoring during the preparation process. Fruits, coconut flakes, nuts or mint are all good options, as are honey or chocolate if you’re in for a little treat. You can always prepare the ice cream plain and add any of those other options when serving the ice cream so you can enjoy different flavors every time.

People are often worried about making ice cream because they don’t have an ice cream machine, but it’s not much more complicated or time consuming without one. The trick is to fully cool the custard in the refrigerator before putting it in a bowl in the freezer and vigorously whisking it every 30 minutes for about 2 to 3 hours while it freezes. This will prevent hard crystals to form and will produce the same smooth ice cream you’d expect from an ice cream machine.

This is a real ice cream made with a custard with the help of eggs. Unlike simpler ice cream recipes not based on a custard, this one will be much richer and will feel like the real ice cream you’re used to. It takes a bit more implication on your part, but the result will speak for itself.

Paleo coconut vanilla ice cream recipe

 

Ingredients for the base

  • 1 can coconut milk, full-fat;
  • 2 eggs or 4 egg yolks (yolks alone will give even more richness);
  • Seeds from 2 fresh vanilla beans or 4 tbsp real vanilla extract.

Possible flavoring options (add any or a combination of the fallowing flavorings)

  • 1/2 cup of your favorite berries (chopped or blended to a puree);
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes;
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mint;
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts;
  • Lemon, lime or orange zest;
  • 3 tbsp raw honey;
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or flakes (you can take a high quality dark chocolate and chop it yourself to your liking).

Preparation

  1. Boil some water in a pot and reduce to a simmer.
  2. Place a heat proof bowl over it in a double boiler fashion and pour the coconut milk in it. Put vanilla seeds or vanilla extract with the coconut milk and heat until hot, but make sure it doesn’t come to a boil. If using flavorings such as mint or dark chocolate, you can add them now. You can also add chocolate at the end of the process to keep the pieces whole.
  3. Whisk the eggs of yolks in a separate bowl. Add one ladleful of the now hot coconut milk to the eggs while whisking quite vigorously. What you’re doing is tempering the eggs and slowly bringing the temperature up without cooking the eggs and risking that they scramble. Add two or three other ladlefuls of the coconut milk mixture and incorporate them to the eggs while whisking continuously.
  4. Take the tempered eggs and whisk in the bowl where the rest of the coconut milk is on the double boiler.
  5. Whisk for a couple of minutes non-stop to form a thick custard. Make sure it doesn’t get too hot and the simmering water doesn’t touch the bowl.
  6. Once the custard is ready, remove from the heat source and let it cool on the counter or the refrigerator.
  7. You can add any other flavoring you want to use once the custard is cold enough to put a finger in it and feel comfortable.
  8. Let it cool even more in the refrigerator before freezing it.
  9. Put in your ice cream maker and follow its instructions or put in a baking dish in the freezer and stir vigorously every 30 minutes for about 2 to 3 hours until it’s set.
  10. Take it out of the freezer for about 10 minutes before enjoying so it softens a bit. Serve with added coconut milk, berries, mint, coconut flakes or any other flavoring you might like.

P.S. Take a look at our Paleo Recipe Book. It's a Cookbook we've created to help you prepare the best Paleo food. It contains 370+ recipes and covers everything you'll need.

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