‘Dirty’ coconut ice cream

‘Dirty’ coconut ice cream


7000 Islands
8 cups
Jana Liebenstein

For almost two years, Dominic Smith and I worked together on Masterchef magazine, a prominent Australian food publication. Dom was born in the Philippines; as one of the recipe developers, he pushed for the inclusion of Filipino food. He and I fast became friends. Dom continues his proactive support of the country’s cuisine in numerous food media.

As a trained chef, Dom brings a modern aesthetic to Filipino food. In this recipe, he uses coconut in various forms to produce a rich, smooth texture and intense flavour. It is straightforward, too, which makes it even better. While the first batch freezes, just set the remainder aside in the fridge.


Quantity Ingredient
60g shredded coconut
220g caster sugar
250ml coconut water
or 250ml water
400ml coconut milk
1 litre coconut cream
1 lemon, juiced


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. To make the coconut syrup, spread the shredded coconut over a baking tray. Toast in the oven for 3 minutes, tossing occasionally, until golden and crisp. Combine the sugar and coconut water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then cook for 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to the boil. Transfer to a heatproof bowl with the toasted coconut and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavours to infuse.
  2. Strain the mixture through a coarse sieve into a bowl, and, using the back of a large spoon, press down on the shredded coconut to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the shredded coconut.
  3. To make the ice cream, combine the coconut cream, lemon juice and coconut syrup and whisk well to combine. Pour half of the mixture into an ice-cream maker and churn until frozen. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze overnight or until firm. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

What is it?

  • While this recipe is more like gelato, its name is inspired by a popular street food item known as ‘dirty ice cream’ or sorbetes. Peddled by vendors from pushcarts, the cool, refreshing iced treat is popular with kids, but snubbed by some parents, who believe the cheaper snack is likely ‘dirty’ (despite having devoured it themselves as children).
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