It was quiet at 7 am but already humid. The house is still, even the dogs aren’t stirring, and everyone was still sleeping. Except me, in my jetlagged state, and my dad, the eternal early riser.
I love those early mornings in Manila, every time I come home, and I can relish those moments with my dad. He makes coffee, and I reach for whatever sweet thing is in front of me: hot chocolate, caramelized plantains, rice cakes, pastries.
At night, in our rooms, dark and cold from air-conditioning, we also snack on the same things: more native sweets, or ice cream.
Every one in my family loves ice cream, but I think my dad and I take first and second place.
When he retired a few years ago, my dad celebrated his birthday at his office and he rented out a cart of “dirty ice cream” – the local, rustic ice cream peddled in the streets in the Philippines.
When my parents and I went to Italy in 2010, my dad and I ate gelato every day (sometimes twice a day). I love this picture of us taken by my mom in Milan. It was our first stop on our trip, later on we went to Venice and Tuscany. It was ridiculously hot that day, and I was still jetlagged from my trip (I’m always jetlagged), but we walked for miles, visited the church to view The Last Supper, went shopping, and (of course) stopped for gelato.
When I went home for Christmas last year, my dad ordered a huge batch of coconut ice cream for my sister’s birthday. The ice cream was bracingly cold, perfect for the tropical weather, and I couldn’t resist a cup even before we got to my sister’s birthday cake.
This Avocado Ice Cream seems like the most appropriate recipe to post for Father’s Day. It’s inspired by the ice cream of my youth. It’s a no churn recipe, meaning you don’t need an ice cream maker. It’s made with coconut milk, which is a common ice cream ingredient in the Philippines (I whipped the coconut milk, making coconut whipped cream, which I then supplemented with regular whipped cream). And it’s main flavors are avocados and condensed milk, which always remind me of home.
My parents have an avocado tree in the backyard (avocado trees grow in subtropical climates – they need an environment that does not freeze and with little wind – so the Philippines is perfect). It is majestic, with large, palm-sized, dark green leaves that offer expansive shade to shield us from the sun. And our avocados are huge! Soft and buttery and perfect.
This ice cream is exactly that for me, too. Soft and buttery and perfect. I savor every sweet and creamy spoonful. The avocados, combined with the full-fat coconut milk, whipped cream, and condensed milk, give it a velvety mouth-feel. It’s delicious.
One spoonful, and I feel instant relief from the summer heat. One spoonful, and I already want another. One spoonful, and I’m transported home.
Filipino Avocado Ice Cream
Inspired by the ice cream of my youth, this version is a no churn ice cream (you don't need an ice cream maker!) The flavors of avocados and condensed milk shine through, made even richer with coconut milk and whipped cream.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
2 medium avocados, halved, pitted, and peeled
14 oz condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk (I just used the cream that rose to the top of the can. I recommend chilling in fridge overnight to make it easier to whip)
1 cup cold heavy cream (you can also substitute a prepared whipped topping, like Cool Whip)
toasted coconut or sprinkles, for topping (optional)
- Chill a 9x5 loaf pan in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- Make the ice cream base flavors. Combine the avocados, condensed milk, vanilla, lime, lime zest, and salt in a blender. Puree until smooth.
- Make the coconut whipped cream. In a large bowl, whip the coconut milk with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Fold in avocado mixture.
- Make the whipped cream. In another large bowl, whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold the whipped cream into the lightened avocado mixture until well-combined.
- Pour into chilled loaf pan, and chill in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight.
I used coconut milk in a can (Thai brand). I chilled the can in the fridge overnight, and then only used the "cream" part which rose to the top (I discarded the watery liquid that sat at the bottom). You can use any brand of coconut milk, except the boxed or bottled variety that's usually found in the refrigerator aisle (along with almond milk, soy milk, etc). Those are usually a much thinner consistency and will not whip into a cream. You can also use canned coconut cream if you can find it. I recommend chilling first to make it easy to whip.
You can also substitute 1 cup of prepared whipped topping (like Cool Whip) instead of making your own dairy whipped cream.
Recipe adapted from the Food Network
I’m celebrating Father’s Day with my dad and my family via FaceTime this year, but I don’t really need a special occasion to remind me how much I cherish my dad. He has always been my idol, and when people comment on how we are so similar, I always beam with pride.
Thank you, Daddy, for always eating ice cream with me. For making minatamis na saging (sweetened bananas) every time I am home. For answering my phone calls whenever and wherever you are. For always making me feel special.
Happy Father’s Day to my wonderful dad and all the other dads out there! I hope your weekend is filled with ice cream.
If you’d like to read more Father’s Day tributes and recipes inspired by my dad, check out these posts: Banana Caramel Upside Down Cake, Japanese Fried Cauliflower Rice, Salted Chocolate Banoffee Pie, Steak on the Stovetop, and Nutella Banana Pudding. And as a bonus, I also wrote about my dad and my grandfather in this Of Cockfights and Adobo article.