Amber fact: I love coconut.
Its sweet nuttiness is the scent of my favorite body lotion and hair conditioner. I find a creamy, strong pina colada quite delish. I love adding shredded coconut to my baked goods and homemade granola.
There’s just something about the aroma and taste of coconut that makes me think of sunshine and the beach- even when snowflakes are fluttering around outside my window.
On April 22nd.
Sigh. Moving on.
The other day, I realized that the big strawberries I had in the refrigerator were on their last legs. I’m trying to waste less food, so I peeled through my berry recipes to see how best to use them up. Strawberry muffins sounded amazing, but heavy. I didn’t have enough to make jam. Then I remembered my ice cream maker, which had been neglected all winter. I browsed the little recipe section of the booklet that came with it and saw strawberry sorbet. Perfect!
And then something else caught my eye: COCONUT sorbet. Hello. Hmmm.
A quick survey of the pantry confirmed that I had all of the ingredients for both recipes, so I did my best to combine the recipes into one: Strawberry Coconut Sorbet. I totally succeeded- and it was really easy.
I’d only used my ice cream maker twice since I bought it last year, once for a strawberry-rhubarb miracle and once for decadent s’mores ice cream. Both were scrumptious- and both used lots of milk and cream. The only milk in this recipe is coconut milk!
I started by making vanilla simple syrup, using one of the fat vanilla beans we brought back from our honeymoon. I sliced it lengthwise and scraped out the little magical seeds into a pot with water and sugar. I tossed in the scraped pod, too, and brought it to a simmer, stirring while the sugar dissolved. Then I took the pot off of the heat and let it steep into vanilla sweetness for an hour or so.
In the meantime, I cleaned up my strawberries. I took off the green parts and cut away any soft areas (they were very ripe, remember?), and chopped them into chunks. The kitchen smelled like warm vanilla and sweet berry. Mmmm.
When the vanilla syrup was cooled a bit, I strained out the vanilla pod and returned the syrup to the pot. I added the berries and, using my hand-blender, pureed the strawberries into the vanilla syrup.
Next, I poured the strawberry puree through the strainer again to remove any seeds or chunks. It was time to whisk in the coconut milk- two cans of it!
That bowlful of light pink coconut berry-ness was going to grow up to be something fabulous one day. But first, it needed to chill out in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
At this point, my work was done. I was again surprised at how easy it really is to make homemade ice cream or sorbet at home. After the mixture had cooled for a few hours, I poured it into my ice cream maker, switched it on, and let it work its magic. The hardest part of this recipe was waiting for the sorbet to be done!
After a half hour or so, I poured the soft, semi-frozen yumminess into a dish and put it into the freezer to really harden up. I snuck a taste, and gave one to John, too. We agreed- the strawberry coconut combination was genius!
Later, after dinner, I scooped us some sorbet, tucking a little Lorna Doone shortbread into it. We ate quickly, since the sorbet hadn’t had enough time in the freezer yet. It was a tasty, mini version of a tropical strawberry shortcake!
Then, last night, we hosted a friend for dinner. I scooped us some truly frozen sorbet for dessert and topped it with sliced strawberries.
The fresh berries brought out the strawberry flavor in the sorbet a little more. But that beachy, nutty, sweet coconut flavor makes this sorbet a little special. Next time, I might try toasting some shredded coconut to sprinkle on top! It makes it feel like summer, even with snowflakes falling.
On April 22nd, you guys. Sigh.
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered.
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- Two cans of coconut milk
Combine the water and sugar in a small pot. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the tiny seeds into the pot. Add the pod and bring the sugar and water to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside for an hour to steep; strain, discarding the pod.
Add the strawberries to the pot. Using an immersion blender, puree the strawberries until smooth. Pour the strawberry syrup mixture through the strainer into a bowl to remove seeds and solids.
Add the two cans of coconut milk to the strawberry mixture, whisking until smooth. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours.
Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and turn it on. Let it mix until thickened, about a half hour. To fully freeze the sorbet, pour it into an airtight container and place in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Top with fresh berries, toasted coconut, shortbread cookies, or eat it with a shovel. YUM!
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