Coconut Gelato

1 quart

This intensely flavored gelato will satisfy any coconut lover. For an even more tropical adventure, try adding pureed pineapple for a pina colada take on this creamy coconut treat.


  • 1 fresh coconut (about 12 ounces)

  • 3 cups whole milk

  • 5 large egg yolks

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • ½ cup cream of coconut

  • ½ cup sweetened angel-flake coconut


  1. Puncture the eyes of the coconut with a nail, and drain the water into a small saucepan. Using a hammer, crack open coconut. Remove the outer shell and dark-brown skin; discard. Grate flesh.

  2. Cook coconut water over low heat until reduced to syrup consistency, about 20 minutes. Set aside. In a large saucepan, combine milk and grated coconut. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, and remove pan from heat. Let steep 1 hour. Pass mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, pressing very hard on solids. Reserve strained milk, and discard solids.

  3. Combine egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Cream at medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow, 3 to 5 minutes. Return milk to a simmer.

  4. Add half of the warm milk to egg-yolk mixture, and whisk until blended. Return new mixture to saucepan with remaining milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

  5. Have ready an ice-water bath. Remove saucepan from heat, and immediately stir in heavy cream. Pass mixture through a sieve set over a medium bowl. Place bowl in ice-water bath, and chill. Add reduced coconut water and cream of coconut. Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add sweetened coconut flakes, and mix in machine until combined, about 30 seconds. Store in an airtight plastic container up to 2 weeks.

Cook's Notes

For the best flavor, soften it slightly in the refrigerator before serving.


Pina Colada Variation

Peel, core, and puree a fresh pineapple. Cook in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced by three-quarters, about 50 minutes. Let cool, then stir into chilled custard along with reduced coconut water and cream of coconut, as directed in step 5 above.

Related Articles