We might have stumbled upon the perfect dessert. Seriously. The Cherry Coconut Ice Cream Sandwiches recipe from the New York Times might just be the total package. Find the recipe here.
Forget what you think you know about ice cream sandwiches. I would never be drawn by the component parts individually. Of all the flavors of ice cream, cherry probably ranks in my bottom third. And a lemon wafer cookie? Meh. But together, the flavors sing and the cookie brings a buttery crunch to the smooth ice cream. Suddenly cherry ice cream is actually worth something.
The best part about these ice cream sandwiches is that you don’t have to go to some hot new restaurant in Brooklyn to get it. You can make this yourself. TODAY. Do it, it’s totally worth the prep and planning that is required to make an ice cream dessert.
The recipe completely works as written. The first thing you do is make the ice cream base. Cherry ice cream does require the pitting of about a pound of cherries. Since this was going to be a Father’s Day dessert, I recruited a sous chef. I highly suggest getting yourself one of these.
Start by cooking the pitted cherries with the sugar, salt and lemon juice until they’re soft – it took me about 10 minutes – pretty simple.
The ice cream custard is a little trickier, but you can do it. I used milk in place of the cream/half & half and it worked just fine. Bring it to a boil with the sugar and vanilla.
Once that boils, you’re going to temper it into the egg yolks and tapioca starch (I was tempted to substitute corn starch here but since it will not boil again you might be left with a starchy taste) that you have whisked together. To temper a hot liquid into egg yolks means you’re introducing the heat gradually so that the eggs don’t cook and curdle like they would if you just dumped them into the boiling cream. While constantly whisking, pour 1/2 of the hot cream into the eggs.
Now switch to a rubber spatula, and while stirring the mixture in the saucepan, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan.
Over low-medium heat, gently but constantly stir to keep the eggs from cooking on the bottom of the saucepan. Cook until the mixture thickens and holds a line if you run your finger across the coated spatula, but do not let it boil. You want the eggs to cook enough that they will hold the custard together, but not so far that they cook into tiny egg particles.
Once cooked, add it to the cherry mixture in the blender, blend until smooth, then strain and chill (I like to use an ice bath).
This next part required the purchase of a new ice cream machine, after, ahem, an over-exuberant cleaning frenzy left me without a small, yet critical part, of our old machine. I found this Cuisinart on Amazon and was happy with the simplicity of it. There are only four large parts so hopefully I can avoid tossing another perfectly good machine. It did a great job freezing the ice cream in about 15 minutes.
The cookies are pretty straightforward. Mix the dough, let it chill, then roll and cut rounds to your liking.
The fun part is the assembly. Let the cookies cool completely before you begin, and make sure the ice cream has had time to set in the freezer. I put the dried coconut on a plate and rolled the sides in it once the ice cream was sandwiched. Return the cookies to the freezer to set, call your friends, and wait for the compliments to come rolling in. These are the real deal.