Desserts/Pastries · Ice Cream

Mango Gelato…and Our Grandma, Mệ

Mango Gelato


M was our paternal grandmother and by no stretch to the imagination was she your typical grandma. Yes–she was loving and caring but she was also quite feisty and sometimes “crass”. She chewed trầu cau (betlenut), drank beer, taught me black jack, and could build the most intricate and ornate Lego buildings that were freaking awesome.

And because of all of that, I loved her dearly.

As the youngest of 5 (with a fairly significant age gap between my next sibling), I spent a lot of my childhood with Ôn (our paternal grandpa) and M. They would play with me, sneak me extra candies, and shield me from my folks when I was about to get busted for doing something really stupid.


Mango Gelato


Lately I find myself reminiscing a lot on my times with M —especially the times that we would eat mangoes together. I would sit on the floor next to her watching her peel the long strips of skin off the mangoes. Then we would devour the fruit and gnaw on the seeds with the juices dripping down our faces. Of course she would tell me some type of funny story throughout the entire process, stopping only to open her mouth wide to let out a huge bellowing laugh. When we were finished, she would hurry me off to go wash my face before the juices left my skin itchy. They were wonderful times and I can’t help but to smile when I remember her this way.

Shortly after Ôn passed away, M moved back to Vit Nam and my frequent trips to the motherland began. With each visit, she and I would still sit on the floor and enjoy some special item together…..măng ct (mangosteens), mít (jackfruit), nhãn (longan) or whatever fruit that was in season. The roles changed a bit during those times as I prepared the fruit for us while she inquired about my day. She was obligated to remind me, her American-born granddaughter, to not eat the street foods or ride on the xe ôm (scooters). Of course I obediently said “yes” and then would later jump on a scooter & head to the nearest food stall with my cousins. But the small “white lie” was expected. She knew she had to caution me and I knew I would have to verbally comply. But inside, M knew that exploring the streets of Vit Nam was the only way for me to really become acquainted with my country.

My family says I inherited a lot of M’s features, which always makes me smile. I think it’s because of this and my memories of M that I feel I’ll always carry her spirit with me. And for the rest of my life, I know that every time I eat mangoes I will always think of her.


Ôn and M…..weren’t they so cute???


Mango Gelato
From Ice Cream & Sorbets: Cool Recipes
Makes One Quart


½ Cup Sugar
½ Cup Water
2 Pounds Ripe Mangoes*
3 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
2/3 Cup Heavy (whipping) Cream
Prepare a large bowl or pan of ice water.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water, bring to a boil while stirring, and cook until the syrup is clear. Immediately place the pan in the ice bath and stir the mixture occasionally until it cools to room temperature.

Peel and dice the mangoes, discarding the seeds, and purée the mangoes in a blender or food processor with the juice and syrup. Transfer to a container and stir in the cream. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 3 hours.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a container, cover, and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

**It’s important to use really ripe, but not browned, mangoes for the fullest flavor. There are also many varietals of mangoes but I prefer the Ataulfos as I think they are the most fragrant and flavorful.

Desserts/Pastries · Ice Cream

Toasted Coconut Gelato

Second Coconut recipe in one week?! Yes, I admit it…..I have a Coconut addiction.

In an attempt to keep up my goal of utilizing my ice cream maker throughout summer, I dabbled with a recipe to bring one of my favorite flavors into gelato form. Loosely basing it off my Mint Chip Gelato adventure, I took toasted coconut, coconut milk, and coconut extract to make this easy and delish gelato. And because of the three forms of coconut that I employed, the end result was truly packed full of coconut flavor.

For a little experiment, I took half of the gelato from the ice cream maker and swirled it with caramel and left the other half as is. I had hoped that the caramel would provide a luscious surprise in each bite but unfortunately the flavor was not able to hold its own. My sister later told me that Ben & Jerry’s had said on an episode of Unwrapped that Caramel Ice Cream was challenging because if you don’t make the caramel thick enough, it blends too much into the rest of the ice cream. Not going to lie—that made me feel better 🙂

Even though the caramel spin wasn’t as successful, the Toasted Coconut Gelato by itself was delicious and I’ll definitely make it again. Perhaps next time with the addition of fresh young coconut strips? Delish!

Until next time Friends, “Coconut Addict” signing off!


Toasted Coconut Gelato


2 Cups plus 3 Tablespoons Whole Milk
1¾ Cups Coconut Milk (I prefer this brand)
1 Cup loosely packed Toasted Unsweetened Coconut Flakes, plus additional for garnish
½ Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Coconut Extract
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoons Cornstarch
Pinch salt

In a heavy sauce pot, add 2 cups of milk, coconut milk, sugar, and salt. Bring to a low boil on medium low heat. Be careful not to scorch. With the remaining milk, add corn starch to make a slurry. When milk and coconut milk come to a boil, add the slurry and extracts. Cook on low and whisk often so that clumps do not form. The mixture is cooked when you can run a line on the back of a spoon without the mixture coming back together.  Cool the mixture to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 12 hours.

Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. When half the time has elapsed, slowly add the toasted coconut allowing it to be thoroughly incorporated in the mixture.

Transfer to a storage container and freeze until desired firmness. Before serving, allow the gelato to sit on your counter for a few minutes for a better texture and because its easier to scoop. Serve with a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes.


Desserts/Pastries · Ice Cream

Mint Chip Gelato….Homage to National Ice Cream Month

July was National Ice Cream Month! And what better way to compliment the summer heat than with a big old bowl of your favorite ice cream flavor. My favorite flavor? Easy. Mint Chocolate Chip—-but not just any variety. This gal requires that her Mint Chocolate Chip not only taste good but have that bright green hue that only food coloring can bring 🙂 It just tastes better….True Story.

And although I realize traditional Gelato is different than Ice Cream, I thought that its Italian counterpart would be a great “lighter” alternative to celebrate this fun food month. I was inspired to try out the Mint Chip Gelato from Ravenous Couple as I liked their interpretation from David Lebovitz and Mark Bittman.

The recipe was straight and to the point—-and with my lovely Cuisinart Ice Cream/Sorbet Maker, it was a breeze! Because I added 1.5 bunches of fresh mint to my base, my gelato was MINT-A-LICIOUS—which was perfect for me. I think the only change I would make next time would be to reduce the cornstarch to 1 Tablespoon as 2 was just a little too much for my liking. And because of the high volume of fresh mint that I used, I was able to achieve a very pretty light green hue. Quite lovely with no food coloring needed.

And not only was my end product delicious but I knew exactly EVERYTHING that was in it and could control amounts, etc. No added preservatives or filler ingredients here.

There’s nearly two official months left until Summer ends and I intend to fully give my ice cream maker a work out 🙂

Until next time friends, stay COOL (pun intended).


Mint Chip Gelato
From Ravenous Couple


2 Cups Whole Milk
1/3 Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
Pinch salt
1-2 Bunches Fresh Mint, washed, dried, and destemmed
5 oz. Dark Chocolate

Make a slurry with about 3-4 tbs of milk and corn starch in a bowl and set aside.  Add the remainder of the milk to a sauce pan, mint, salt, and sugar under medium low heat.  When mixture starts to bubble, turn off heat and allow mint to steep for about 1 hour.  Then pour mixture over a sieve and squeeze out the fluid from  mint and discard.

Reheat his mixture under medium low heat. When it begins to bubble, add your mixed slurry and stir making sure there are no clumps. Continue to heat until it thickens..when you can run a line on a back of a spoon without the mixture coming together it should be done.  Cool completely (preferably over night) and then add to your ice cream maker, follow it’s directions.

Place the container that you plan on storing the ice cream in the freezer.

In the mean time, coarsely chop the chocolate into small pieces and heat over a water bath.  When the ice cream maker is done, scribble the melted chocolate onto your cold container–it should freeze almost instantly. Scoop in a layer of ice cream and break up the chocolate. Scribble more chocolate and layer on more ice cream.  Continue until done and freeze until firm.  Before serving allow to thaw just slightly before scooping.