This non-dairy Coconut Lucuma Ice Cream features frozen lucuma pulp, coconut milk and coconut whipping cream, eggs, and vanilla. It’s a creamy, rich, custard-style ice cream that will have you asking for more. It requires about 30 minutes of active time, and an ice cream freezer. Kick it “up a notch” with quick and easy candied pistachios.
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks – About Lucuma Fruit
I first had lucuma in an amazing lucuma gelato at a gelato place at the entrance to Machu Picchu on our first trip to Peru in 2017. It made quite an impression! Since then, I’ve had fresh lucuma in smoothies at the San Pedro Market in Cuzco, and on the breakfast tables of many of our hostels.
Lucuma fruit belongs to the Sapotaceae family. This seasonal summer fruit is native to the Peruvian and Bolivian Andean valleys of South America. The fruits are small to medium and are oval-shaped. Their peel is very smooth and thin, and their color varies from dark to light green. Lucuma’s flavor is unique and sweet, and is best eaten fresh.
What does lucuma taste like?
Lucuma, when ripe, has a very unique, slightly sweet flavor, reminiscent of maple syrup, sweet potatoes, and caramel.
Is lucuma healthy?
Yes indeed! Lucuma is a great source of fiber to help regulate the digestive system, and a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system while providing anti-inflammatory properties. The fruits also contain B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium. For more on lucuma fruit, see Lucuma in Specialty Produce for more specific information.
I have never been able to find fresh lucuma in the US. You can, however, find frozen lucuma pulp in many markets (which is what I use for this ice cream), and you can get lucuma powder in health food sections of markets, in Latin foods stores, and on Amazon.
📋 Ingredients You’ll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- lucuma pulp – I have never seen fresh lucuma in the US, but if you do, by all means, use them. I buy Goya lucuma pulp for ice cream, and it works great. It’s just lucuma.
- coconut milk – Not to be confused with non-dairy coconut milk in the “milk” section, coconut milk is usually found in the Asian foods section. I usually use lite coconut milk as I keep it in my pantry. You can certainly use full-fat coconut milk as well.
- coconut whipping cream – Coconut whipping cream is a relatively new product (to me). If you can’t find it, substitute sweetened cream of coconut or coconut condensed milk.
- sweetener – My preferred sweetener for frozen desserts is non-fructose corn syrup. It’s viscosity adds to the structure and texture of the ice cream/sorbet. Depending on which sweetened canned coconut product you use, you may not need additional sweetener.
- fine sea salt
🔪 How to Make Lucuma Ice Cream
- Heat the coconut milk – I use lite coconut milk (it cuts a few calories). Heat it to just below boiling, but do not boil.
- Prepare the eggs – Thoroughly whisk the eggs together in a good-sized bowl. You’ll need to add several ladles full of hot milk.
- Temper the eggs – Add the hot coconut milk a little at a time to the beaten eggs. I like a ladle for this task.
- Cook the custard mixture – Slowly heat the custard (coconut milk and beaten eggs) over medium heat. You want to bring them to a low simmer, and stir constantly until slightly thickened. This takes 6-8 minutes. The custard should coat the back of a spoon. NOTE: If you heat the mixture too quickly, your eggs will curdle!
- Chill the custard mixture thoroughly before proceeding. This is VERY IMPORTANT when using a freezer bowl type of ice cream freezer. If the mixture is not thoroughly chilled, you may not get the ice cream frozen before the ice bowl is melted and no longer cold enough..
- Add the chilled custard, the coconut whipping cream, lucuma pulp, vanilla, and corn syrup if needed to a blender or food processor.
- Thoroughly blend the ice cream mixture. NOTE: Taste the mixture before adding sweetener. Add corn syrup as needed, then pour into the ice cream freezer bowl. Freeze according to the manufacturers instructions.
What does lucuma taste like?
Is lucuma healthy?
How do I make the candied pistachios?
I like non-fructose corn syrup (aka Karo) in ice cream recipes like this red bean frozen custard or this pomegranate sorbet. It’s viscous, and only ⅓ as sweet as table sugar. The sweetener you use adds structure to the end product. If you use simple syrup, that introduces water, and increases the likelihood that your ice cream will be icy.
Sweetness is subjective, and I am reluctant to specify an amount of sweetener. I used the coconut whipping cream this time, and added 3 tablespoons of corn syrup. We prefer a lightly sweet ice cream. I have also used cream of coconut, and it is sweeter than the whipping cream. Taste your ice cream mixture in the blender, and add corn syrup accordingly.
Store ice cream in a good, airtight container. I like this double-walled ice cream container. Press plastic wrap against the ice cream to help prevent icy crystals. Thaw 20-30 minutes to make it soft enough to scoop.
🧂 Useful Stuff
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These are a few items that I recommend that are related to this recipe, and either the same brand or similar to what I use in my own kitchen!
Lastly, I had what I consider to be a brilliant idea – to garnish the lucuma ice cream with candied pistachios. It takes about 5 minutes to make them, and they really complement the caramel flavor of the ice cream. See FAQs above for brief instructions.
Coconut Lucuma Ice Cream Recipe
- ice cream storage container double-walled container
- To a medium saucepan, add the coconut milk. Heat slowly over medium heat, stirring often. DO NOT BOIL.
- To a medium-sized bowl, add the eggs, and whisk vigorously until creamy and smooth.
- When the coconut milk is very hot (not boiling), use a ladle to add a little at a time of the hot liquid to the eggs, whisking to incorporate. When the tempered eggs are warm, whisk them into the remaining hot coconut milk on the stove.
- Continue cooking the custard – stirring constantly – until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This process will take about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Pour the custard into a sealable container. Chill thoroughly. When the mixture is cold, add to a blender or food processor.
- Add the coconut whipping cream or cream of coconut, the lucuma pulp, and the vanilla. Purée until very smooth. Taste for sweetness. Add corn syrup as needed.
- Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. I now have a compressor model, and it freezes in about 40 minutes if it starts out cold.
- Serve immediately or store in an appropriate airtight container in the freezer. Garnish with candied pistachios if desired!
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.