My grandmother passed away on the very first day of the year. I know, what a way to start 2014 right? It’s why I’ve been MIA these past few days, save for that pre-scheduled sponsored post. I just didn’t have the heart or the energy to do anything but wallow for a bit. My Ah-ma, as we called her at home, was an enormous part of my life, and as cliche as my next words might sound, I finally understand what other people mean when they say a part of them has been ripped out leaving only a void. It’s a real feeling.
My grandmother was a tremendous person. I’ve always seen her as sort of a wonder woman, who could do and get through anything she set her mind to. No mountain was too high and no river too deep for her. When my grandfather was murdered by a thief more than 20 years ago, she was left penniless with a 4 year old son (my Dad), in a foreign country she knew nothing about. But she was a strong woman who relied on her talents and resourcefulness to put food on the table and send my Dad to school. What a world of difference her life turned into as she grew older and my father began to succeed in providing her with the comforts she never had before.
I’ve written about many of my thoughts and regrets following her departure in my personal blog so at the risk of being an incoherent bawling mess, I decided not to go into those details again here. But I thought it would be nice to share with you all how my grandma figures into my life in the kitchen, and a little outside it as well.
My grandma was a great cook. Frankly, she was responsible for making me a rather fat child so I guess all my old childhood pictures are proof of her kitchen skills. As she got older, the time she spent in the kitchen became less and less, until it became virtually nonexistent. But whenever she passed by and glanced at me through the kitchen door, she stop, smile, and ask about what I was making for the day. I never quite realized how much I took her small gestures for granted.
My grandma had a bit of a sweet tooth, and that went well with my love for baking. She enjoys being a taste-tester whenever I bake anything with chocolate, as well as cookies, cakes, and ice cream. When I bought an ice cream maker, the first flavour I made was this deep chocolate ice cream. It was a combination I was sure she would enjoy, since she loved chocolate a lot. Every ice cream after that received her stamp of approval, but this recipe I’m sharing today is one of the first ice creams she no longer got to taste.
This ice cream is a wonderfully tropical one, with a light fruity taste of rum and a full coconut flavour. The toasted coconut adds a crunchiness, sweetness, and a fragrance unique only to it. It’s different and I have a feeling my grandma would have loved this.
Rum Ice Cream with Toasted Coconut
makes about 1 quart
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 ounces 3 Tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup rum
- 1/2 cup toasted shredded coconut*
- Before beginning the recipe, remember to chill your ice cream maker's bowl as per manufacturer's instructions.
- 1. Mix about 2 tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. In another bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt together until smooth.
- 2. Prepare a large bowl and fill it with ice and water.
- 3. Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes.
- 4. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
- 5. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- 6. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Stir in the rum.
- 7. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
- 8. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin according to manufacturer's instructions until thick and creamy.
- 9. Pack ice cream into a storage container, distributing the toasted coconut between layers of ice cream as it is transferred. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid.
- 10. Freeze in the coldest part of freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.