With the approach of the festive season, I'm literally tickled pink to share this recipe for creamy coconut ice with you — mainly because it's the best, creamiest coconut ice I have ever tasted and I know that once you've tried it you and your taste buds will love it too!
And then in the late 90s I had the pleasure of tasting these creamy little morsels made by a colleague (one of the former co-owners of my cooking school). Unlike other recipes made with icing sugar combined with copha, or egg white, or condensed milk, this version is made using cream cheese, and it's quick and simple to prepare. As good as it is, however, this coconut ice is nonetheless quite sweet (and rich), so my recommendation is that it's probably best reserved as a once-a year-treat.
In the pink...
125g cream cheese, softened
1/4-1/3 cup milk*
31/2 cups pure icing sugar (confectioner's sugar), sifted
21/2 cups desiccated coconut
1/2 teaspoon good quality vanilla bean paste
a few drops (natural) pink food colouring
Grease a 9"x5" (23x14cm) loaf pan and line the base and sides with baking paper. Combine the soft cream cheese together with the icing sugar, milk and vanilla bean paste in a saucepan and whisk until smooth. Cook over a low heat for two or three minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add the desiccated coconut and cook for two or three minutes more, stirring constantly. Transfer the mixture to a Pyrex bowl and beat it as it cools (I used a wooden spoon to do this). Now, divide the mixture, spooning half into a second Pyrex bowl. Add a few tiny drops of the pink colouring to one of the bowls and blend well. Spread the white mixture evenly into the bottom of the loaf pan, pressing it down gently with a wide spatula. Then spread the pink mixture evenly over the top, pressing it down also. Cover with a strip of baking paper and refrigerate until set. When you are ready to slice the coconut ice, lift it with the baking paper intact carefully from the loaf pan and place onto a cutting board. Then, using a sharp knife dipped into boiling water (and wiped dry), cut into neat, even shaped squares. Wrap in cellophane and tie with pretty ribbon or string. Store in the refrigerator, bearing in mind that there is cream cheese in the mixture.
*The original recipe suggested 1/2 cup of milk, but when I tested the recipe twice with that quantity the mixture didn't set. Use your judgement here less is more, so start with 1/4 cup and add a little extra if you feel the mixture is too dry.