The base for this coconut sorbet is fresh coconut milk — not to be confused with the water found inside coconuts (although that should be reserved to use in the recipe).
You may substitute the fresh whole coconuts in the recipe with canned, unsweetened coconut milk and grated coconut — but you can’t beat the flavor of doing it from scratch.
Yield: Approximately 1.5 quarts (1.5 L)[Excerpt from Yucatan: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition by David Sterling © 2014 by the University of Texas Press) Used by permission of the University of Texas Press; For more information visit www.utexaspress.com]
For the sorbet, using fresh coconut
2 whole coconuts, outer shell and brown husk removed (each weighing about 9 1/2 oz. / 270 g cleaned and drained; reserve liquid) Reserved water from the coconuts (each coconut has about 1 1/4 cups / 312.5 ml liquid) 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water, approximately 1 cup (95 g) of the reserved shredded coconut after coconut is puréed (you may toast or freeze the remaining coconut for another use) 2 cups (400 g) sugar 1/8 teaspoon (0.125 ml) Mexican vanilla extract
For the sorbet, using canned coconut milk
1 cup (250 ml) water 1 1/2 cups (142.5 g) grated unsweetened coconut 3 cups (750 ml) canned coconut milk (check label to make sure it has no artificial ingredients or sugar and that it is not sweetened “coconut cream,” which is used for making tropical cocktails) 2 cups (400 g) sugar 1/8 teaspoon (0.125 ml) Mexican vanilla extract
If you are using fresh, whole coconut
Prepare coconut milk
Grate the coconut. If you are using a hand grater, cut the coconut into quarters and grate; if you are using the grating attachment of a food processor, chop the coconut into pieces small enough to fit through the feed tube. This should result in approximately 4 cups (475 g) grated coconut.
Add enough plain water to the reserved coconut liquid to reach a total of 4 cups (1 L). (Note: If you have coconuts that have already been drained, use 4 cups [1 L] water instead.)
Transfer the liquid to a saucepan and heat gently to just under a simmer; remove the pan from the heat. Place half the grated coconut and half the hot liquid in the jar of a blender and liquefy for 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl; repeat with the remaining coconut and liquid. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Place a large sieve lined with cheesecloth over a bowl. When the coconut purée is cool, pour it into the sieve. Lift the cheesecloth, pull the edges together, and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can into the bowl, reserving the liquid. Gather the shredded coconut from the cheesecloth and reserve. (Note: This should yield about 4 cups of coconut milk.)
Prepare coconut syrup
Place 1 cup (about 115 g) of the reserved coconut along with 1 cup (250 ml) of the coconut milk in a blender and liquefy for 1 minute; set aside.
In a heavy saucepan, combine the remaining coconut milk and sugar and stir over low heat until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a boil; boil for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the vanilla and coconut purée from the blender and stir to combine. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and allow to cool. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.
Freeze and finish
Remove the chilled sorbet base from the refrigerator and stir. (Note: The natural fats of coconut tend to separate from the water; stir to recombine.) Process in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions. Place the finished sorbet in a covered freezer container and freeze for 2-3 hours before serving.
If you are using canned coconut milk and packaged grated coconut
Prepare coconut milk
Place the water and coconut in the jar of a blender and liquefy for 1 minute; set aside.
Combine the coconut milk and sugar in a medium saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil; boil for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the vanilla and coconut purée from the blender and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl and allow it to cool. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.
Proceed with freezing as described above.
Yucatan: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition