All it takes is three ingredients!
I haven’t made coconut ice for years and while prevalent in the 70’s at just about every church fete, school fair and fundraiser, it seemed to then just disappear off the scene. But recently I’ve seen coconut ice pop up in a few different places so I’m thinking all that’s old is new once again. And rightly so; because this is a wonderful sweet treat to share with friends.
Back in the days of the church fete and the school fair, mothers were required to tie an apron around their waist and make an edible donation that would be divided into little cellophane packages and sold to raise funds for the worthy cause. Three recipes featured heavily at these events; they were patty cases filled with toffee sprinkled in hundreds and thousands and set so hard you could crack your teeth; fudge that only came in one flavour, chocolate, and pink and white coconut ice.
All of these retro sweet treats were made with just a few ingredients and usually they were not ingredients you had to go looking for – they were typically found in every pantry. There were some mothers (there’s always a few) who tried to outdo everyone else and take things up a level and they presented sweet treats like marshmallows covered in toasted coconut dyed bilious colours or chocolate crackles – five ingredients!
Coconut ice was always my favourite. I would eat the toffees but found them sticky and if you had wobbly teeth the toffees would remove them swiftly. One year I bought some fudge but the mother who made it had burnt it and there was a bitter, charred flavour to it. The coconut ice not only looked super-pretty but was super-sweet with that beautiful coconut texture and flavour.
I don’t know why coconut ice is always pink and white striped. The colour combination is certainly pretty and while this recipe is making a comeback, I think coconut ice would be lovely served at a bridal shower. But I can see coconut ice also being good for baby showers where you can make either pink and white striped or blue and white or both. Let’s not forge the festive season; coconut ice can also be Christmasy and you can make green and white or red and white. So many options and this is a wonderful treat that deserves to be served at more than just the school fundraiser.
Making coconut ice is very easy. You just need dessicated coconut, icing sugar and a tin of condensed milk – and a few drops of food colouring. And that’s it. It takes about 15 minutes to make, it will require some elbow grease to stir the mixture, it doesn’t require turning on the oven but does need a few hours in the fridge to set; preferably overnight.
- 4 cups dessicated coconut
- 3½ cups icing sugar
- 1 x 390gm tin condensed milk
- pink food colouring
- Lightly grease a 20cm (8") square tin.
- In a large bowl, combine coconut and icing sugar.
- Add condensed milk and stir - mixture will be very stiff and you'll need some elbow grease.
- Press half the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
- Tint remainder of the mixture with a few drops of pink food colouring then press over the top of the white mixture.
- Cover tin with glad wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
- Remove glad wrap and cut into 36 little squares.
So easy and so pretty.