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Coconut ice

This is a recipe that’s ideal for child-centric bake sales – school fêtes, church fairs, that sort of thing. Kids love making sweeties, and coconut ice is one of the few sweets that doesn’t require any cooking, so it’s a safe recipe for little hands to get stuck into.

If you’re making this with children, it’s worth buying pink food colouring rather than just using a teeny amount of red. Children let loose on red colouring can easily produce coconut ice that looks like the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, so spend 40p on the pink stuff for a reliably Barbie-pink finish.

I have found myself a little queasy around condensed milk since John Prescott announced his uncanny ability to “sup a whole tin of Carnation…just for the taste” (and then spew it forth again). Coconut ice a very good way to rehabilitate the stuff. The amount this recipe produces will help you erase any such nasty images from your mind via the diabetic coma you’ll fall into if you eat all of it.

To make just over a kilogram of coconut ice, you’ll need:

400g dessicated coconut
400g icing sugar
1 tin (397g) condensed milk
½ teaspoon pink food colouring

In a large bowl, stir the dessicated coconut, icing sugar and condensed milk together until you have a stiff, sticky mixture. Remove half the coconut ice to a clean bowl and add the food colouring, then stir again until the colour is blended in smoothly. (Stirring this is hard work because the mixture is rather stiff, so children will need supervision.)

Line a small rectangular dish with cling film, making sure there is plenty overhanging at the sides. (Later, you will fold these overhanging bits over to cover the coconut ice.) Grease the cling film with a few drops of vegetable oil. Take the white portion of coconut ice and pack it firmly into the lined dish, making sure you produce an even layer. Pack the pink portion into a neat layer on top of the white layer. They will stick together firmly, thanks to the amazing adhesive qualities of sugar and condensed milk. Fold the cling film over the top and refrigerate the coconut ice overnight.

When the coconut ice is nice and firm from the fridge, turn it out of the dish, using the cling film to help, and peel the film away. Chop into little squares (a serrated knife is useful here), dust with icing sugar and pack in greaseproof paper for the school fête.

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14 comments to Coconut ice

  • Anonymous

    I love anything with coconut and condensed milk. I was looking for a recipe for Puerto Rican tembleque when I found your site. Have you ever tried tembleque? I buy it at a little Puerto Rican bakery in my town. It is very rich and thick–probably all condensed milk, sugar, and coconut milk–with a little cinnamon on top. Makes life worth living!

  • Liz

    I’ve never come across tembleque before, but I’m now feeling like there’s a big coconut-shaped hole in my life. I’ll look out for some next time I’m in a US town with a Puerto Rican bakery!

  • sarah jane

    these look yummy and easy! i have some varying shades of pastel food coloring- maybe we could do it in pink and teal? the kids would love it!

  • meg

    Looks delicious!

  • Liz

    Hi Meg! It's funny how appetising something that's such an unnatural colour can look, isn't it!

  • Sam Bishop

    This is a very Australian sweet – I grew up with this, and suddenly feel that my children need to taste them too. I'll let you know if they taste like the stuff we used to eat at home!

  • Anonymous

    How long do you think these and other sweets will keep? I'm planning a sweet stall for our local fete and have (probably foolishly)agreed to make coconut ice as well as toffee apples, chocolate truffles, turkish delight, nutty toffee and fudge. I must be mad as I've never tried any of the recipes before! Any idea how far in advance I can start 'creating'? I noted your point about freezing the truffles…

  • Liz

    Hi Anon – you'll be fine with this in greaseproof in a Tupperware or similar in the fridge for up to a month (at least). If you're making brittle sweets (like toffee apples) they're best done on the day or the day before, as they might sweat a bit on exposure to the air – obviously, the more airtight you can keep things, the better. Fudge keeps its texture in the fridge for a week or so. Longer than that, and it'll start to dry out a bit.

  • Anonymous

    Liz,
    I am ready and armed, with your recipes and advice, to start making sweets this weekend – the fete being next Saturday.
    Thanks!

  • s

    Hi. American here. I'm familiar with evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. Just wondering if it's the sweetened condensed milk you use. Thanks.

  • Liz

    Hi S – yes, you want the sweetened kind. (This reminds me – there is one of the very small tins in my kitchen cupboard at the moment, just begging to be slopped on toast, Winnie the Pooh style.)

  • Lori

    This would be absolutely decadent dipped in melted chocolate.

  • person

    these are delcious and easy

  • sugar plum fairy

    desiccated coconut … unsweetened or sweetened?

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