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Jamaican Avocado Ice Cream

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Call it Jamaican avocado ice cream or Jamaican avocado frozen custard, this traditional treat is not as freaky as it sounds. Not at all.

Such a pretty shade of deep green. Such a velvety mouthfeel. Such a luscious, silky, aroma. Such a delicate flavor. Also I like it that the flavor of avocado goes so nicely with sweet. I never would have thought it!

Jamaican avocado ice cream recipe
Inspiration

The first time I heard of avocado ice cream, it was on the competitive reality show Top Chef, when a haughty upstart who was into “molecular gastronomy” made it as his response to an ice-cream challenge, and had disdain for the kids who didn’t enjoy it. So I figured it was some snooty new invention of fancy chefs who value oddness over yumminess.

So when I found avocado ice cream listed as a traditional Jamaican dessert in a 1965 text (see “Source Recipe”, below), I was intrigued, and I just had to try it.

Skip to the recipe.

Jamaican avocado ice cream recipe
Key elements

I made the mistake of using cream instead of milk, thinking that would only make it better. It didn’t. I forgot to take into account the richness of the avocado, which is loaded with avocado oil – one of the world’s only fatty fruits. The result was too heavy, almost leaden. However, the flavor is great. I haven’t made it again, but I’m confident that, made with milk, it would be spectacular.

I also found that a few drops of lime juice sprinkled over an individual serving solved the problem of the heavy quality. The light, bright lime was all it needed to shift the balance towards an exceptionally creamy, deeply flavorful treat.

On another note: I love the old-fashioned usage of “avocado pears” in the source recipe. And it reminds me of the passage in The Bell Jar where Sylvia Plath’s magazine intern character partakes of what she calls “alligator pears” at an upscale luncheon.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk, or 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream (or 2 cups half-and-half — same thing!)
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • lime slices or few drops lime juice

Equipment

  • Double boiler
  • Ice cream maker
  • Potato masher
  • Whisk

In a nutshell

  1. Cook eggs, milk and half the sugar.
  2. Mash avocados with the rest of the sugar.
  3. Mix together and process into ice cream.
  4. Serve with a squeeze of lime.

In detail

  1. In the top chamber of a double boiler, beat eggs lightly. Add the milk and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Cook gently, whisking or stirring often, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t allow any lumps to form. It’s done cooking when the mixture has thickened enough to coat a spoon that you dip in it and then lift out. You have made a custard.
  2. Let custard cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the avocados and remove pits. In a mixing bowl, use the potato masher to mash the avocados. Add the sugar and mash and mix together thoroughly. If you don’t have a potato masher yet, you can use a fork but you will find yourself wishing for a potato masher after a minute or two.
  4. Add the avocado-sugar mixture to the cooled custard.
  5. Add this mixture to an ice cream maker and process according to your machine’s instructions.
  6. Squeeze a few drops of lime juice on individual servings.

Jamaican avocado ice cream recipe
Source recipe

Avocado Ice Cream (Jamaica)
p. 152
Cooking the Caribbean Way
Mary Slater
Hippocrene Books, New York, 1998
First published in 1965 by Paul Hamlyn Ltd.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz sugar
  • 1 pint milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond essence, optional
  • 2 medium-sized avocado pears

Instructions

  1. Beat eggs lightly and add 4 oz. sugar and milk.
  2. Cook in a double boiler, stirring, until the custard thickens.
  3. Add essence and allow to cool.
  4. Mix remaining sugar with peeled, stoned and mashed pears and beat well. Thoroughly blend pear mixture into custard, turn into a freezing tray and freeze to a mush.
  5. Remove from refrigerator, beat again and return to freezing compartment set at lowest.

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