I have been obsessed with Vietnamese Coffees lately: hot or cold it doesn’t matter. But what could be better than a Vietnamese Coffee? Perhaps Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream? [This post contains affiliate links] Jump to Recipe
Even a lot of normal people who don’t have inflammatory bowel diseases have trouble with coffee. I seesaw back and forth but I can’t and probably won’t ever be able to have straight up black and I’ve missed it more than usual lately.
I didn’t NEED coffee until I was in grad school and I started with mochas and lattes. But that got too expensive on a grad school budget real fast so I switched to straight up black and ended up loving it. I still love it. But with ulcerative colitis it’s one of those things I can still enjoy but will always have to adjust, test, and use my best judgment. And I still can’t have it straight up black.
I’ve been feeling the need for caffeine more than usual. I’m just trying to get a lot of work done now so I can focus on recovering from the surgery (which still doesn’t feel real yet-but that will change soon-all my pre-operation appointments start this week).
Trying out Vietnamese Coffee ended up providing me with the solution I needed. I was getting tired of all the milk in lattes and wanted more coffee. The very slow drip of a Vietnamese coffee filter brews a wonderfully oily and rich cup and the sweetened condensed milk provides the fat that makes it easier for me to digest.
It wasn’t long before I started thinking of other ways to have my new favorite thing. Almost immediately I thought of Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream.
Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream
I have a complaint to file against coffee ice cream. Most of the time there is only a hint of coffee, a small nod of the head in appreciation. I didn’t just want a nod. I wanted a whole award ceremony to Vietnamese Coffee. So this packs a punch. Basically you’re going to be wondering why you’re eating your coffee.
Ice cream is pretty flexible though so if you like subtlety in your Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream you can adjust the amount of coffee grounds without worrying about it negatively affecting the end product. The color is the only factor that changes. The first time I used 7 tablespoons (a little less than a ½ cup). It came out deliciously creamy and tasted like a Vietnamese Coffee (and you’re looking at the 7 tablespoon version). But my coffee loving family (and myself) felt it needed a little more umphf. So I used 2/3 cups coffee grounds the next time. I soak the grounds in the milk and cream over night and then strain them out in the morning.
You don’t have to use Café du Monde Coffee with Chicory but I like it best and it’s what gives you the classic Vietnamese Coffee taste. You can always add chicory to regular coffee grounds but I wasn’t able to try it because I couldn’t find the stuff. But I did find Café du Monde at my local Asian grocery store. It was sitting right next to the sweetened condensed milk and Vietnamese single serve coffee filters (I love it when everything I need is in one spot).
I used an ice cream maker and I’m saying you need one because it’s the way I made it. HOWEVER, it is possible to make ice cream without a machine. I’ve made sorbet before using the freeze and stir method and David Lebovitz, the ice cream guru, says the richer and more custard-based the ice cream is, the better the result will be using this method. So, this recipe is a good candidate for success because it is rich and custard based. Check out his blog post on making ice cream without a machine if you don’t have one.
Because it’s my birthday on Thursday, I was trying to pair this with some chocolaty goodness. I first tired turning my favorite brownies into a skillet cookie. That came out more like a cake (good but not good enough for the blog). And the flavors mysteriously cancelled each other out. Next I turned my favorite chocolate cookie recipe into a skillet cookie (can you tell I was really craving a skillet cookie?) and it came out AMAZING. But the flavors again cancelled each other out.
The biggest mistake I make as a cook/baker is going overboard: combining everything I love into one thing because I love it all so much. But that often actually makes food confused muddles of blah. So I’ve decided the Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream is a lot like coffee itself. Why get the original Vietnamese Coffee that you’ve been craving and then add a whole bunch of stuff that makes it into something else?
However, the Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream + toasted coconut + chocolate sauce + a bit of salted caramel sauce is a HELL yes.
Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream
Combine 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk in a bowl. Add 1/3 cup coffee grounds and mix. Cover and store in the fridge overnight.
In another bowl, pour 1 cup heavy cream. Add 1/3 cup coffee grounds, stir, cover, and store in fridge overnight.
Strain the heavy cream, milk, and coffee grounds mixture into a medium sized saucepan through a fine mesh strainer covered in a couple layers of cheese cloth (this can go a little slow-running a spoon around the grounds at the bottom can speed the process up a little).
Strain the 1 cup heavy cream into a medium bowl through a fine mesh strainer covered in a couple layers of cheese cloth and set aside. Place the fine mesh sieve (cleared of cheese cloth and coffee grounds) over the bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth.
Add the sweetened condensed milk and salt to the saucepan with the cream and milk and heat on medium, stirring to combine. Continue cooking and stirring often until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble around the edges (about 3 minutes). Make sure it doesn't start to boil though.
Lower the heat to low and measure out one cup of the hot milk mixture and slowly pour it into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly. This is to prevent the eggs from cooking. Slowly pour the combined egg yolks and milk back to the saucepan, stirring constantly as you do so. Turn heat to medium-low.
Continue cooking until the mixture thickens (about 4 to 5 minutes). To test, dip a wooden spoon in and check to see if you can draw a clear line with your finger. The line should stay as it is and not loose its shape.
Pour into the fine mesh sieve over the reserved heavy cream and stir together.
Fill a sink with ice and cold water and put the bowl in it, bringing it to room temperature (about 15 minutes).
Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.
Place a loaf pan in the freezer. Transfer chilled custard to an ice cream maker and follow the directions of the manufacturer (this can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes in my experience)
Once done, quickly transfer the ice cream into the frozen loaf pan.
Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
Let the ice cream sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
I've included all the waiting time in the prep. There is only about 10 minutes of active cooking.
Adjusting the amount of coffee doesn't affect how the ice cream turns out so don't worry.
When straining out the coffee grounds, squeeze the cheesecloth to get out all the liquid.
If you don't have an ice cream machine, try the freeze and stir method: Put a large stainless steel or glass bowl in the freezer for 24 hours. Pour the mousse into it once it’s set for 4 hours and beat it with an electric mixer. Put back in the freezer for an hour and repeat. Keep this up until you get the consistency you want.
If you want to sprinkle roasted coconut on top of your ice cream, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the sweetened or unsweetened coconut (whatever you prefer) on a small baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool.