When I was teenager, I suffered from horrible bouts of insomnia. I would lie awake at night for hours, watching the numbers on the clock change, wishing I was somewhere else. Eventually, I did start daydreaming of that somewhere else—my own deserted tropical island. Each night more details of my island emerged. The colors of the sunset, the grains of sand on the beaches, the gradual intensity of the colors on the rocky cliffs. I invented a story for how I arrived on this island. Sometimes I envisioned myself on the island with others, though often I was by myself.
In this sleep-starved state of my mind, this island became my paradise.
As the fitful nights progressed from weeks to months, the elements of my island grew greater in detail. I imagined building a shelter from coconut palms to block out the blistering sun. I imagined fishing with makeshift poles, struggling to find a meal. I imagined the sleepless, hungry nights, when the rain leaked through the roof and the fish weren't biting. I imagined battling with the hard husk of coconut shells, knocking them down from trees, trying to reach the sweet fruit within. I imagined the loneliness that would build up inside me from my little island, the fear and the desperate wishing to go home. The longer I thought about it, the more stressful my tropical paradise became.
Eventually I let go of my island fantasies, abandoning them once the stress of my paradise began to overshadow my sleepless state.
Though my short-lived tropical daydreams were years ago, fragments of my imagined adventure pop up whenever I encounter sandy beaches and ocean waves. Landlocked as I am, my curiosity towards coconuts became a way to bring those daydream adventures to light. Eventually, that curiosity turned into a love for the multi-purpose fruit.
Nowadays I like to imagine myself on a sunny, crowded beach, eating coconut sorbet beneath a large umbrella, and watching children play in the tide. I find there is far less stress when modern conveniences are involved.
Coconut Sorbet is a refreshing, cool treat to enjoy whenever the mood strikes. Coconut milk is sweetened with pure maple syrup and vanilla bean before whirling in an ice cream maker. Small pieces of shredded coconut are added to give a chewy texture to the smooth sorbet. While the sorbet can have the tendency to be icy straight from the freezer, if you leave it out for 10 minutes before scooping, the sorbet transforms into a creamy texture.
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2 14.5-ounce cans (825 ml) full-fat coconut milk, chilled
1/2 cup (160 grams) pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract or the seeds from 1 vanilla bean)
Dash of salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) sweetened shredded coconut flakes, lightly packed
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the chilled coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Set aside.
On a cutting board, slice the coconut flakes into small pieces. Whisk into the coconut milk.
Freeze mixture in ice cream maker, following the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to a plastic airtight container and freeze for 2-3 hours before serving.