I made my first ever batch of homemade coconut ice cream the other day. It was creamy, sweet and refreshing, but I couldn’t help wondering why it tasted so familiar. Then I remembered. My mother had made coconut ice cream regularly when we were children, growing up in the steamy tropical lowlands of Papua New Guinea. Although a little more ‘ice’ than ‘cream’ (perhaps something to do with an old, kerosene-fuelled fridge/freezer), her version was made with coconut milk fresh from the source.


The local villages were situated on hills rising out of the lagoons and those ridges were covered in coconut palms. Whenever we wanted coconut, we simply had to take a long stick and knock some out of the closest tree. From there, a local friend would hack off the fibrous outer layer with a machete and pierce the shell with several holes. After catching the watery contents in a bowl, she would then, with practised precision, give the hard nut a swift whack with the back of the knife to split it in half.


Sitting on a purpose-made stool, we would grate the coconut meat into a bowl. I can recall eating this freshly grated coconut for breakfast, but more often than not, we would pour the reserved coconut water onto the grated meat and then squeeze it hard to remove the excess liquid. What resulted from this process was the freshest, richest coconut milk you will ever find! This milk then provided a base for creamy fish curries, or as mentioned above, for Mum’s homemade coconut ice cream.


Sadly, I don’t have access to fresh coconut milk these days, so canned coconut milk will have to suffice. It makes lovely ice cream, but because we like our ice creams to be portable, and because ripe, tart raspberries are the perfect complement to the sweet, creamy milk, we’ve made them into icy poles. These raspberry and coconut ice pops are as refreshing as a sea breeze on a summer’s day. Make them now… because summer is almost over, and these really need to be enjoyed today!


Raspberry and Coconut Icy Poles
The fresh tartness of raspberries is the perfect complement to the sweet creaminess of coconut milk in these deliciously simple summer treats!

Makes about 500mL or 6 x 83mL icy poles

1 x 400mL can full-fat coconut milk
½ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
100g (approx 1 cup) frozen raspberries

Shake the can of coconut milk vigorously to combine contents. Open can and pour into a large bowl, scraping out all contents, especially the cream. Add the sugar and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

Give it a quick taste. If you want to add extra sugar or more vanilla, now’s the time to do it.

Pour mixture into icy pole moulds until three-quarters full, and then add raspberries until mould is almost full, allowing some space for expansion. (I tend to shove the berries down with a long-handled spoon, as they don’t sink to the bottom without help).

Gently lower handles into pops or place in freezer for about 45 minutes, and then insert wooden sticks. Freeze for at least another 4 hours before eating.

To remove icy poles from moulds, simply run under warm water for a few seconds until you can twist and release.

Adapted considerably from The Hungry Mouse

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