Coconut, Peach, and Thai Basil Ice Cream

Today, Brooklyn is a misty vision of pre-fall weather. Just cool enough to turn on the oven for a batch of simple banana bread but not quite time for hot coffee. I’m appreciating the break, but I know that this means summer is on its way out. It always goes too quick, don’t ‘ya think?

Of course, there is that delightful Northeastern weather pattern known as Indian Summer to look forward to. It guarantees at least another month of tomatoes, roof parties, tank tops, and, most importantly, ice cream cones.

I implore you to give this recipe a go before peaches disappear from the market stalls until next year. The tropical and exotic flavors of coconut and Thai basil play so well with the fresh sweetness of raw sugar and juicy peaches. This was the first batch of ‘scream I made in my shiny new toy (Thanks Adam!) which means I got to make a bigger batch than I could in my old maker. I’ll admit it didn’t last any longer than my previous creations, but that’s just a testament to its deliciousness, not my self-control issues. Right?

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups coconut milk
2 sprigs Thai basil
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut*
3/4 cup raw sugar
3 egg yolks
3 very ripe peaches, peeled and diced

In a large saucepan combine the cream, coconut milk, basil, and shredded coconut. Bring mixture to just under a boil and turn off heat. Cover and let steep for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together to create a slurry. The sugar won’t dissolve fully into the eggs the way refined sugar does, but that’s OK.

Remove the basil from the cream mixture and discard. Return cream to medium-low heat. Slowly whisk one cup, 1/3 at a time, of the warm cream into the egg mixture. When sugar dissolves, slowly whisk eggs into cream. Stir constantly until custard begins to thicken. It is ready when it coats the back of your spoon.

Let cool slightly then strain to remove any cooked egg bits and the shredded coconut. Cover and refrigerate until completely cool, preferably overnight.

When cool, freeze custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. About half-way through freezing, add the diced peaches to the mix. For soft-serve textured ice cream, feel free to serve immediately. For your standard ice cream, transfer from freezing bowl to a freezer-proof container, press plastic wrap against ice cream, cover, and freeze for another six hours.

*I wanted a big coconutty flavor here, but I’m texturally opposed to shredded coconut in most dishes. Hence the steeping and then straining. Feel free to skip the straining step if you are into shredded coconut.