I’d like to take a moment to celebrate. Even in the midst of a pandemic and a heartbroken and enraged nation, this weekend we are celebrating Juneteenth, the Summer Solstice, and Father’s Day. And to me, one of the best ways to celebrate on a summer day is with ice cream.
Ice cream is also a perfect treat to honor my dad, who is like me in so many ways: early-riser, TV-watcher, planner. Sometimes we are like two peas in a pod: always waking up before everyone else, indulging our sweet tooth when possible, devouring articles and books, relying on facts and data, patiently waiting for my mom when she is shopping, impatiently waiting for other people when they are late, preferring order and routine.
And sometimes we are on extreme ends of the spectrum: with our personalities (him: a true introvert; me: the complete opposite), our temperaments (him: reserved and in control; me: often shushed at the Amtrak silent car), our entertainment preferences (him: critically-acclaimed films; me: The Real Housewives of New York City).
But we always agree on ice cream. Together we gobbled up gelato every day when we vacationed in Italy a decade ago. Similarly, we eat ice cream to soothe sickness (him: vertigo; me: anything). And we even make the same homemade avocado ice cream (him: for my sisters; me: for me).
So to celebrate my dad, I made this Coconut Ice Cream Pie. A frozen summer pie with homemade no-churn ice cream (no ice cream maker needed) and a sweet-salty graham cracker crust. I topped the pie with fresh blueberries and blackberries, but make no mistake – the dominant flavor is coconut. Each cooling, creamy bite bursts with layers of coconut from the three types used in this pie: coconut milk in the ice cream base, coconut oil in the crust, and toasted sweetened coconut flakes in the crust and sprinkled on top.
To make no-churn ice cream, you typically combine whipped cream with condensed milk, but for this version, I added coconut milk for a little island flavor. Full fat coconut milk makes for a really velvety mouth-feel, the whipped cream keeps everything soft and fluffy, and the condensed milk (the nectar of my childhood) lends a creamy sweetness to each bite. The crust is buttery, even if there’s no butter involved, with just the right amount of salt and the perfect textural contrast to the ice cream.
Coconut Ice Cream Pie
Prep Time: 12 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours 45 minutes
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup graham cracker crumbs or crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 oz (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
14 oz (1 can) full fat coconut milk
2 cups heavy cream
- Make the pie crust. Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Spread coconut flakes evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Stir the flakes around at the 8 minute mark and start checking for doneness at the 10 minute mark as the coconut will toast quickly.
- Let cool completely on the baking sheet and set aside.
- If your coconut oil is still in a solid state, microwave for a minute until it's in liquid state.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers, coconut oil, salt, and 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut flakes (reserving the rest for topping). Mix well and then press firmly onto a 9-inch pie dish. Chill until ready to fill (about 20 minutes).
- Make the ice cream. In a medium mixing bowl, combine condensed milk and coconut milk. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold in condensed milk mixture into whipped cream until well incorporated.
- Remove pie crust from fridge and scrape ice cream mixture into crust. Freeze for 12 hours or overnight.
- Before serving, top with fresh berries and toasted coconut.
So this weekend, as we celebrate freedom and summer and our fathers, I’m savoring a slice of ice cream pie and thinking about my dad. My ice cream partner and my inspiration in so many ways.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!
If you’d like to read more Father’s Day tributes and recipes inspired by my dad, check out these posts: Easy Carrot Cake, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, No Churn Coffee Cake Ice Cream, Filipino Avocado Ice Cream, Banana Caramel Upside Down Cake, Japanese Fried Cauliflower Rice, Salted Chocolate Banoffee Pie, Steak on the Stovetop, and Nutella Banana Pudding.