No-Churn Coconut Ice Cream

September 2: World Coconut Day

Islander and her brother sometimes would send their friends on the mainland a unique message from Hawaii on a painted hollowed-out coconut. The happily surprised recipients treasure their tropical gift and greeting because it is a very different and personalized postcard.

Islander grew up eating coconuts—from the fresh young ones that her Daddy would pick from the palm trees to the store-bought hairy aged ones in the shell that need to be cracked open and grated. She has drunk coconut water with a straw straight from the fruit (and juice boxes and pouches off island) and used coconut milk in a number of sweet and savory recipes. And now she makes a no-churn coconut ice cream using only 2-3 ingredients, including coconut cream.

Just like those coconut postcards being a treasured tropical treat, no-churn coconut ice cream is perfect for observing World Coconut Day!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cream of coconut (not coconut milk)
  • coconut flakes (optional)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in the cream of coconut. Place in a loaf pan or ice cream container. Cover and freeze for at least six hours or overnight. Remove from the freezer. Scoop into cones or dessert dishes. Sprinkle with coconut flakes (optional).

Notes

  • Coconut flakes could be sweetened or unsweetened and toasted or untoasted. They are optional but add a pretty garnish and tasty texture to this ice cream.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of coconut extract for an even stronger coconut flavor.
  • Search our blog for other no-churn ice cream recipes.
  • Search our blog for other recipes containing coconuts.

 

Apple Roses

September-November: National Apple Months

Highlander’s late father and late sister, Nancy Z., and her family lived in Tyler, Texas, the “Rose Capital of the World”. While visiting this East Texas city, we toured the beautiful Tyler Municipal Rose Garden and Tyler Rose Museum. The garden officially opened in 1952 after several years of preparing the grounds. There are 14 acres featuring 35,000 rose bushes and more than 500 varieties of roses. The 7,500 square-foot museum, opened 40 years later in 1992, is located by the garden and showcases Tyler’s rose-growing industry and regal gowns, crowns and memorabilia collected from the annual fall Rose Festival (since 1933).

Inspired by the flowers from Tyler, we made “apple roses”, a dessert using puff pastry and thinly sliced apples. This is a simple and sweet reminder of the town where Highlander’s dad and sister are resting in peace. Apple roses are also appropriate to make during National Apple Months.

Recipe

(Adapted from Puff Pastry)

Ingredients

  • 2 apples (red delicious)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • flour
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

Directions

Fill a large bowl halfway with water. Stir in the lemon juice (this helps prevent the apple slices from browning too much). Wash and dry the apples. Cut them in half down the middle. Discard the core. Cut into paper thin slices (if it is too thick, the slices will not be as flexible when rolling). Microwave for about 3-5 minutes to soften the apples. Set aside.

Unwrap the thawed puff pastry onto a lightly floured clean surface. Use a rolling pin to stretch the dough to a 12×9 inch rectangle. Slice into 6 strips (2×9 inches long). In a small bowl, combine two tablespoons of water with the apricot preserves. Microwave for about a minute. Stir. Brush this mixture on the strips of puff pastry.

Drain the apple slices. Pat dry. Place an apple slice partly above the top edge of the strip. Place another apple slice to overlap with the previous slice. Repeat until you reach the end of the strip. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Take the bottom edge of the puff pastry and fold up in half. Carefully roll the strip from one end to the other.

Set in the well of a lightly greased cupcake pan. Continue making the rest of the apple roses. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until the puff pastry is cooked through (see Notes). Remove the apple roses from the pan and let cool slightly on wire racks. Place on plates. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Notes

  • To prevent the apple skins from burning too much, remove from the oven after 30 minutes and cover loosely with foil. Continue to bake until the puff pasty is cooked through.
  • Try the rose-flavored tea cupcakes or the rosé wine cake recipes.
  • Search our blog for other apple recipes.

Mary Queen of Heaven Cake

August 22: Feast of the Queenship of Mary

Hail, Holy Queen! Mary Queen of Heaven was the inspiration for the cake we made for a prayer party at a Catholic university in South Texas where Islander’s brother ministers/works/lives on campus. The sparkly accents reflect her regal splendor while the white cake symbolizes her virginity and purity. The contrasting blue cake balls inside represent the precious baby boy, her son Jesus, whom she carried in her womb.

Many honorific titles are given to Mary. This down-to-earth maiden who was chosen to be the Mother of God had a great responsibility, which she accepted gracefully. For her love and sacrifice, she is both humbled yet exalted. Likewise, our Mary Queen of Heaven cake is simple yet elegant. But it was appropriate for our celebration during the Feast of the Queenship of Mary.

Recipe

For the blue cake balls

Directions

In a bowl, combine the cake mix, water, oil and egg whites. Blend until the batter is smooth. In a greased cake ball/pop pan, fill the wells with the batter. Secure the top part of the pan.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. Cool and remove from the pan. Trim the excess from the cake balls.

For the white cake

Directions

Line two 8-inch round pans with waxed paper. Mist with cooking spray. Arrange blue cake balls in the pan. In a mixing bowl, combine the white cake mix, water, vegetable and egg whites. Blend until smooth. Divide batter into two. Pour over the cake balls in each pan.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, testing the cake for doneness. Remove from the oven and let cool completed. Slice off the top mound to make the cake even. Smear a cake board with a little vanilla buttercream. Invert the cake onto the board.

Frost the top and sides with vanilla buttercream. Dust a clean surface with powdered sugar or cornstarch to prevent the fondant from sticking. Roll out 1/8 inch thick and large enough to cover the cake.

Smooth the fondant on the cake and trim away the excess. Position the decorations on the cake (crown, initial M and rhinestone ribbon). Place the cake on a pedestal. Slice and serve.

Notes

  • We used two blue cake mixes to make several cake balls. We used two white cake mixes to make two 8-inch cakes and one 10-inch cake.
  • Try changing the color combinations of the cake mixes for different occasions.

 

Spumoni

August 21: National Spumoni Day

Another hot summer day calls for a cool dessert like spumoni, a colorful confection created by the ever-clever Italians with three layers and flavors of gelato (or ice cream). Similar to Neapolitan ice cream with its pink (cherry or strawberry), vanilla and chocolate layers, spumoni, which is the plural form of spumone, derived from the word “foam”, consists of cherry, pistachio and either vanilla or chocolate Italian ice cream flavors. Some have fruit and nuts between the layers.

We chose to make our spumoni with the fruit and nuts already embedded in the gelato. And we combined pistachio, vanilla (instead of chocolate) and cherry flavors to make a pastel version of the Italian flag.

Have a slice of simple spumoni during the summer and on National Spumoni Day.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Pistachio gelato or ice cream, softened
  • Vanilla gelato or ice cream, softened
  • Cherry gelato or ice cream, softened
  • Red food coloring

Directions

Line a large loaf pan with plastic wrap, extending over the sides so that it is easier to lift out when unmolding the spumoni. Spread the softened pistachio gelato or ice cream as the bottom layer about an inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm. Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and take off the plastic wrap. Spread the softened vanilla gelato or ice cream on top of the pistachio layer about an inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.

Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and take off the plastic wrap. In a large bowl, stir the softened cherry gelato or ice cream with a few drops of red food coloring until it turns pink. Spread this on top of the vanilla layer about an inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.

Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and take off the top plastic wrap. Grab the plastic wrap from the sides and lift out the entire spumoni and unmold onto a cutting board. Slice and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Canada’s National Spumoni Day is on November 13.
  • Neapolitan ice cream is also of Italian origin (Naples). Inspired by the colors of pink, white and brown, we made macarons and a rosé wine-chocolate naked wedding cake.
  • Search our blog for other ice cream recipes.

 

Vietnamese Coffee Milkshake

July 26: National Coffee Milkshake Day

Good morning, Vietnam—and the rest of the world! For those who have not had their morning “cup of joe” yet, perhaps for the next coffee break, try a Vietnamese coffee milkshake for an afternoon delight. It is a tropical take on the traditional coffee milkshake, with coconut and condensed milk as ingredients. The chicory in the Vietnamese coffee grounds also lends a unique flavor to this recipe.

Thanks to Islander’s BFF, Nan N., who works in Hawaii but sometimes takes business trips to Vietnam, where she got us some souvenirs: a bag of Hanoian black coffee grounds and the special filter press (phin) for our food projects. Making the coffee is almost an art form—and the result is a beautiful blend of colors (so use a glass mug to see the mixtures).

The cooled coffee is strong but makes for a flavorful Vietnamese coffee milkshake, which is perfect for a coffee break and on National Coffee Milkshake Day.

Recipe

For the Vietnamese coffee

  • 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons coffee grounds (coarse, not fine)
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions

In glass mug, pour the condensed milk in the bottom layer. In the filter cup, place the coffee grounds evenly. Press down and screw it securely in the cup. Set the filter cup on its base over the mug. Pour the boiling water slowly to fill the filter cup. Cover with the lid to steam it and allow the liquid coffee to drip completely into the mug (about 5 minutes). Stir to blend. Let cool.

 

For the coffee milkshake

  • 1 cup Vietnamese coffee (or strongly brewed coffee), cold
  • 2 cups coconut ice cream, softened (we used “macapuno” young coconut sport-flavored ice cream)
  • ½ cup ice cubes
  • whipped cream
  • toasted coconut flakes

Directions

In a blender, place the coffee, ice cream and ice cubes. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass. Garnish with whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Vietnam was a French colony so there is a big cultural influence in its coffee production (French press techniques). The French first introduced coffee to North America through New Orleans, Louisiana, where there is also a large Vietnamese population. Café du Monde brand coffee, which has chicory in it, is a close substitute for Vietnamese coffee for this recipe.
  • Substitute any coffee grounds but use coarse instead of fine grounds so they won’t fall through the holes in the press.
  • Vietnamese-style coffee is very sweet from the condensed milk so we did not add additional condensed milk to the already sweet coconut ice cream.

 

Crème Sainte-Anne

 July 26: Feast Day of St. Anne

Islander’s Daddy’s patron saint is St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the grandmother of Jesus Christ. When Daddy was a poor, hopeless young boy growing up in a poverty-stricken province of the Philippines, he found a tattered card of St. Anne lying on the ground. Someone must have accidentally dropped and lost the card. But Daddy found God through the intercession of St. Anne and went back to the church and got baptized. He believes that this miraculous sign gave him a better and purposeful life. Coincidentally, she is the patroness of the country of his birth where her National Shrine is located in Hagonoy, Bulacan. She is also venerated as the patroness of other places, such as Quebec, Canada, and Brittany, France. For the feast day of St. Anne, we are featuring an old recipe, Crème Sainte-Anne, from the latter country. A prayer card of St. Anne was enough to convert Daddy, and this custard-like dessert could count as edible evangelism as well!

Recipe

(Adapted from “Cooking with the Saints” by Ernst Schuegraf)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, divided use
  • ½ cup sugar, divided use
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup macarons/macaroons (see Notes)
  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg plus 3 egg yolks

Directions

Butter four ramekins and set aside. In a saucepan, dissolve ¼ cup sugar in the water. Boil until it is a caramel color. Divide into the ramekins and cool the caramel to set.

Slice a tablespoon of cold butter into four parts and place into the ramekins. Crush the macarons and sprinkle evenly among the ramekins. In another saucepan, simmer the milk but do not boil. In a large bowl, mix the egg and yolks with ¼ cup sugar until creamy. Pour in the simmering milk and stir well.

Divide the mixture among the ramekins (the crushed macaron pieces will float to the top). Place in a water bath (put the ramekins in a larger baking pan filled halfway with hot water). Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes or until the mixture is set. Remove from the oven and cool completely. The custard crème may be refrigerated. Loosen the edges with a knife or toothpick and invert onto a plate and serve.

Notes

  • The macarons/macaroons in this recipe most likely refer to the crisp French almond meringue cookies and not the chewy coconut cookies because this recipe is from Brittany, France. We had a recent Food Flop with our macaron shells and crushed those for this recipe. We also used the three egg yolks leftover from the macaron recipe. Refer to our MacAttack page for various macaron recipes to add a distinctive flavor to this Crème Sainte-Anne.
  • Italian amaretti, which is similar to the French macaron, is a suitable substitute.
  • This crème is basically a flan (custard dessert).
  • Anne shares her feast day with her husband, St. Joachim.

 

Corn Fritters

July 16: National Corn Fritters Day

When we lived in Oklahoma (translated as okla + humma or “red people”), we went to pow wows that served corn-based foods, as the vegetable is sacred and the “source of life” for Native Americans. Besides the fry bread at the festivals, we liked to snack on corn fritters.

Now we don’t have to wait to go to a local pow wow to eat them. We can cook corn fritters at home and snack on them whenever we want—but most especially on National Corn Fritters Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Serious Eats)

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ stick (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 1 cup corn kernels (thawed if frozen, drained if canned)
  • vegetable oil for deep frying

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, pinch of salt and sugar. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the milk.

Pour the egg-milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter. Add the corn and mix well. Use a rounded tablespoon to scoop the batter and carefully drop in vegetable oil. Deep fry for 4-6 minutes or until the corn fritters are cooked through. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot. Yield: Approximately 3 dozen.

Notes

  • Sprinkle powdered sugar after frying to make the corn fritters extra sweet. Or season with salt and sliced scallions for something savory.
  • Search our blog for other Native American inspired recipes.