Last updated December 9, 2014
Don’t let the name or color of this ice cream fool you, it’s one of the creamiest summer treats you’ll ever taste.
The first time I went to a Filipino barbecue, I was a little timid. I was about 18 years old. I’ve always been an adventurous person, but I hadn’t been introduced to many cuisines.
My now-husband and I grabbed our plates and started down the buffet table of potluck dishes prepared with love by dozens of his family members. I felt like I was in an aquarium. Some watching with hope that I would take an extra scoop of the dish they prepared, while others watched waiting to laugh at my expressions.
The first pans were filled with Lumpia (Filipino egg rolls). I had no idea what was inside these fried beauties, but I knew I liked egg rolls, so I grabbed a couple. Next, were the vegetables and noodles. Again, I felt safe and added to my plate with a smile, looking around at the aunts and uncles.
As I ventured down the table, the dishes became less and less recognizable. I started to ask questions: “What is this?” “Goat,” someone answered. “GOAT?” I yelled in my head as my eyes opened wide and I clenched my teeth.
I quickly scurried to the next pan. “And this?” I asked. “Bagoong.” I looked at that response with a visual question mark. “Fermented fish,” they continued.
I couldn’t walk fast enough as cousins started to snicker at my responses. Next was a full pig. Although I was a little surprised to see the whole hog lying on the table, I knew I liked pork and cut off a piece. As my mother-in-law snatched off a pig ear and began chewing on it, she asked if I wanted any sauce for my pork.
Based on the previous dishes, I had to ask, “What kind of sauce is it?” “Pig’s blood,” she said. I couldn’t hold in my reactions any longer, and I belted out a hearty “No way!” Fortunately, everyone laughed as I hurried to the dessert table.
Cakes, tarts, cookies, I had to be safe here. I could finish filling my plate without completely insulting the family.But it, too, was different than your standard barbecue. There were very colorful desserts in shades of purples and greens.
The purple desserts were made with purple sweet potatoes. I had never seen purple potatoes before. Growing up in Kentucky, I was familiar with white ones and orange ones. Boy if parents across America knew about purple potatoes, they’d have no problem getting their kids to eat their sides.
Next to the purple desserts was a tub of green ice cream. It wasn’t pistachio or mint chocolate chip…nope…it was avocado. “Gross,” I thought to myself. Who would make a vegetable ice cream, but since I wasn’t as adventurous with the goat, fermented fish or pig’s blood, I thought I’d better put something else on my plate to show that I wasn’t a total food snob who wasn’t willing to absorb another culture.
I was pleasantly surprised. At 18, I didn’t understand how a vegetable ice cream could actually taste good, but from that point on, at every Filipino barbecue, I always hoped there would be a tub at the end of the scary table.
Now, I make my own avocado ice cream at home…along with many other Filipino dishes that I’m not so scared of anymore. And now that I understand food, it’s quite obvious why this dessert is so delicious.
The avocado isn’t actually a vegetable. It’s a fruit, and probably one of the most naturally creamy fruits we have. Straight from the skin, you can scoop out a bite of avocado, and it melts on your tongue. Now, imagine that consistency frozen.
And avocados don’t have much flavor. When prepared as guacamole or on a turkey-bacon-avocado sandwich, the fruit graciously picks up the flavors around it. The same is true if you mix it with something sweet.
So I challenge you to be adventurous today. Try making avocado ice cream at home. It’s a rich, classy ending to any culture’s barbecue.
When I make this ice cream, I use a can of Goya Cream of Coconut. It can either be found in the Latin aisle or the adult beverage aisle because it’s also used for pina coladas. But if you don’t like coconut, you can use a can of sweetened condensed milk. Or, if you prefer to go all natural, use a combination of milk and add more honey to taste. Bon appétit | Kainan na!
- 3 avocados
- 1 can Goya Cream of Coconut
- 1 tsp. lime juice
- 1 tsp. to 1 tablespoon honey
- small pinch of salt
Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor, until smooth. Taste and add more honey or lime juice, as needed to balance out the flavors to your preference.
Scoop into a freezer safe tub with a lid and freeze, until firm. For a faster ice cream, you can place the smooth ingredients into an ice cream maker.
Before serving, remove from the freezer, so it is soft enough to scoop. (At a barbecue, this is usually never a problem)
For a fancy presentation, serve in a scooped-out avocado skin and garnish with toasted coconut.