Coconut milk Vietnamese iced coffee ice cream is the creamiest, most delicious pick-me-up you’ll ever eat.
Coffee was everywhere in Vietnam. Hole-in-the-wall coffee shops, coffee shops tucked away down dark and dingy alleys, even hipster coffee shops. Vietnam had it all. As an avid tea drinker, I was a little caught off-guard by the local coffee culture but as soon as that first sip of Vietnamese iced coffee (ca phe sua dahit) hit my jet-lagged lips, I was hooked.
While over there, I learned that Vietnam is the second largest exporter of coffee in the world next to Brazil and that Brazil and Vietnam usually fight every year for “first place.” The Vietnamese typically drink their coffee iced (because dayum it’s hot there) and black. A “white coffee” is made with sweetened condensed milk. And yes, it tastes as good as it sounds. Maybe that’s why I was so in love with their coffee. Because other than in my annual batch of Hello Dolly Bars, I never use it. Not because I think it’s “bad” but because it’s not a big part of our culture here like it is in Vietnam. But it should be because it’s freaking delicious.
Vietnamese coffee is pretty strong and a little goes a long way. They brew their coffee using a slow drip method. Pour hot water over coffee grinds in a little stainless steel filter and let it drip down into your cup. These filters are everywhere in Vietnam to purchase but you can also order them on Amazon for around $7.
Because of their strong coffee culture, they’re also known for having interesting dessert variations of coffee like egg coffee and yogurt coffee. Egg coffee sounds bizarre, I know. But it was one of the most deliciously indulgent things I’ve ever tasted. You basically whisk egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk together to create a froth and then slowly whisk in some of the brewed coffee. And then the egg froth gets spooned over top of the rest of the hot brewed coffee. If you’re ever in Hanoi (known for their egg coffee), be sure to order one at Giang Cafe.
egg coffee in Hanoi
Yogurt coffee, on the other hand, sounds more intuitive. It’s like coffee flavored yogurt, right? Not quite. Also considered a dessert in Hanoi, yogurt coffee (if made the right way) is made with homemade yogurt which is then frozen and brewed coffee is poured in over top. You use a spoon to mix the two together to create a coffee yogurt frappe-ish drink. Cafe Duy Tri makes their own homemade yogurt for their yogurt coffee so head there to try it out if you’re in Hanoi.
yogurt coffee in Hanoi
Steve and I bought Vietnamese coffee to bring back home with us along with a filter so we can brew it at home. I really wanted to recreate egg coffee or yogurt coffee for the blog and maybe I still will but I had a hankering for making something else out of the coffee and settled on my favorite food group: ice cream. I figured coffee ice cream is scrumptious so Vietnamese iced coffee ice cream must be even better. It was.
This ice cream took a couple tries to get the consistency just right but it was worth it to indulge in this rich, creamy, frozen deliciousness. Subtle hints of Vietnamese coffee. Sweetness from the condensed milk. Richness from the egg yolk and canned coconut milk.
I made my first coconut milk ice cream late last summer using my new ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid and it worked like a charm. Since then, I’ve been anxiously anticipating summer’s return so I could get back to ice cream making. Making homemade ice cream requires a bit of commitment and dedication seeing as though you (unfortunately) can’t just make it on a whim. The bowl needs to be frozen beforehand, the liquid custard mixture needs to be refrigerated. Lots of little steps before the churning can actually happen. But plan it out right and you’ll be glad you waited.Enjoy this ice cream in a cone or cup, perhaps sprinkled with some cacao nibs on top for good measure
- 2 cups canned coconut milk*
- 1/4 cup Vietnamese coffee grounds (or chicory coffee)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 5 egg yolks
- If your ice cream maker has a bowl that needs to be frozen for churning, be sure to freeze it the night before.
- Combine coconut milk, coffee and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to just before boil and remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Using a cheese cloth or fine mesh strainer, strain liquid, discarding solids. Return liquid to saucepan over medium-heat until heated through.
- In a separate medium bowl, beat egg yolks and condensed milk until smooth. Slowly whisk in hot liquid until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it against the custard. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
- Add custard mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions, about 20-30 minutes.
- Once the ice cream is done churning, using a spatula, transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container (loaf pan works well) and let harden in the freezer for at least 4-6 hours.
Tell me, have you ever had a Vietnamese iced coffee?
For more frozen treats, check out my recipes below!