I'll admit that my favorite selection from the shiny white Good Humor jalopy that cruised our neighborhood was simply called Toasted Coconut: vanilla ice cream on a stick, coated with lots of sugary-sweet coconut.
On the last fateful day that I'd ever see the Good Humor man, the bully next door decided to spray him with water from a hose as he slowly circled our block. He beat a hasty retreat and never came back. Being blackballed by the Good Humor man made that the worst summer of my life. I don't know what happened to the neighborhood bully, but now that I'm an adult I can have Toasted Coconut Ice Cream where I want. And I do. The picture of this particular ice cream is marbled with mango sorbet.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 degrees Celsius. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes, stirring it frequently so it toasts evenly. Remove it from the oven when it’s nice and fragrant and golden brown.
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, 1 cup (250 milliliters) of the heavy cream, sugar, and salt and add the toasted coconut. Use a paring knife, scrape all the vanilla seeds into the warm milk, and then add the pod as well. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
Re-warm the coconut-infused mixture. Set a mesh strainer over another medium saucepan and strain the coconut-infused liquid through the strainer into the saucepan. Press down on the coconut very firmly with a flexible rubber spatula to extract as much of the flavor from it as possible. Remove the vanilla bean pieces (rinse and reserve them for another use), and discard the coconut.
Pour the remaining heavy cream into a large bowl and set the mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm coconut-infused mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Mix in the vanilla or rum and stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.