1-1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
5 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted dry roasted almonds
Place the coconut in a skillet and toast it over medium heat until it’s golden brown and fragrant.
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, one cup of the cream, sugar, salt, and the toasted coconut. Using a paring knife, scrape all the vanilla seeds into the warm milk, then add the pod as well. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
Rewarm 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 halves (you can rinse and reserve them for another use), and discard the coconut.
Pour the remaining 1 cup of 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. Don’t boil the custard. When it’s done, it should be 170-175°F.
Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Mix in the vanilla and stir over an ice bath until cool. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
While your custard is cooling, make the chocolate covered almonds. Stretch a piece of plastic wrap over a plate. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or a stainless or glass bowl on top of a pot of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth. Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the almonds, coating them with the chocolate. Spread the mixture onto the lined plate and chill.
Freeze the ice cream base in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While your ice cream is churning, chop the chocolate covered almonds into bite sized pieces. Fold the almonds into the frozen ice cream, as you’re removing it from the machine.