Non-Dairy Custards and Ice Cream - Coconut Milk

Now we can pretend it's alphabetical!
The pinkish one in the front might be dairy-free.
Coconut milk is a pretty straightforward one - it's reasonably fatty, comparable to heavy cream, and so you don't need to worry about whether your ice cream will be creamy. If you're using coconut milk, it will be. The only downside is, it may taste very much like coconut. Which may or may not be a downside, depending. If you like coconut, it's great. If you don't, you might still be able to hide it under stronger flavours. Bravetarts Vegan Berry Ice Creams do this - you don't really get coconut, you do get fragrant and delicious. So far, it's one of my favourite creamy strawberry ice creams. (I may have to one day admit the truth, I might just prefer my frozen strawberries in sorbet form. The vegan berry ice cream is delicious though, and the closest I've come to that perfect strawberry ice cream, at least for my taste. Obviously I will keep trying out variations til we get there.)

A little bit of coconut milk added to the yoghurt makes a surprisingly ice creamy frozen yoghurt, without actually tasting incredibly of coconut either. And on a non-ice cream note, I ran out of milk and cream one time making flan. A half-half substitution of soy milk for the milk and coconut milk for the cream worked out well, and did not have an overwhelming soy or coconut flavour.  (I also decided the best time to try that out was on a recipe I hadn't actually tried before. Controlling for variables, not really. But between "go to the store" and "use something else in the fridge"? Well, hopefully someone stops me before I start stirring sriracha into the ice cream because we are out of raspberry reduction, and hey, they're both red! We've put jalapeƱo mash into ice cream before though, so probably not. It'll just get eaten anyway.)
As a custard ingredient, Coconut milk works out nicely, which won't surprise anyone who has ever had coconut cream pudding. It's not nearly as fussy as almond milk, either. Just stir it in instead of your dairy and continue with business as usual.
Instead of cream in Philadelphia style ice creams, I've only tried it as the reduction-coconut milk blend, but it comes out fluffy and creamy every time. Apparently you can actually whip coconut milk as you can whip cream - at least in the ice cream maker, it works.  Sometime soon I'd like to try a peanut butter coconut milk ice cream, just to see what happens.
So far, my favourite coconut milk comes by the litre, and says it's 100%. I hope that's 100% coconut milk...I've tried a few cans that had slightly lower percentages, blended with water, between 60 and 70%, they did work too. They might have been a tad less fluffy in results, but still perfectly good. So if your can doesn't say, don't worry too much about it, and churn away!. (Just stay away from "coconut milk drink"...I mistook it for coconut milk, when in fact it is mostly water. Not quite as creamy results that time.)


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