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Coconut lemongrass ice cream

April 15, 2013

So I’ve been wanting to make my own ice cream for a while. Although I’ve experimented making ice cream using the poor-college-student method, which is to stir the custard mixture every 10 minutes while it is solidifying in the freezer, that hasn’t really done it for me in terms of mouthfeel and texture.

Enter my friend Alice. She let me borrow her ice cream maker, since she was letting it sit in storage anyway. With summer around the corner, I guess she figured I could make some use of it, considering I have a bunch of weird ideas when it comes to experimenting with food. Score!

Custard

The premise of ice cream is that it is a custard base that is basically churned for some time in an ice cream maker so that it is given some fluffiness and further taffy-like creaminess that you can’t get in a baked custard.

Straining

In my version of lemongrass coconut ice cream, I made a coconut-milk based custard due to the fact that I am currently avoiding animal dairy. Since lemongrass is naturally a good pairing with coconut in Thai cuisine, I figured, why not?

I admit that after I “discarded” the lemongrass after straining the custard that I snuck the leftovers into my mouth before spitting out the fibers. I call it preliminary tasting of the custard.

Finished ice cream

The result turned out amazing. Frankly, because I was so eager to eat the ice cream that I only churned it for 10 minutes, it turned out having the texture of gelato instead of ice cream. Another 15-20 minutes in the ice cream maker would have made my ice cream lighter and airier. Got too excited there.

Ingredients
2 stalks lemongrass
2 cups coconut milk
6 Tbsp sugar or sweetener equivalent to sugar
4 egg yolks

Directions
(1) Separate the lemongrass stalk into the green and yellow part. Tear off the outer layer of leaves if also green. Chop the yellow part, which usually is about 3-4″, very finely.
(2) Heat coconut milk on medium heat in a pan over the stove. Add sugar and incorporate for 3-5 minutes as the coconut milk simmers.
(3) Add the lemongrass pieces and stir to incorporate. Turn off heat and let steep for 30-60 minutes.
(4) Strain the mixture of the lemongrass pieces and return the liquid to the pan, allowing it to come back to a gentle simmer, with just enough heat so that there is no bubbling of liquid.
(5) Beat egg yolks in a bowl. Add some hot liquid into the bowl and stir. Do this 3-4 times until the egg yolks are well-incorporated into the liquid added without curdling or chunking.
(6) Add the egg yolk mixture to the rest of the liquid and stir. Stir constantly for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is as thick and viscous as pouring warm honey.
(7) Let the mixture cool and chill for about an hour.
(8) Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and allow to aerate/churn for 10-20 minutes, depending on desirability of thickness/airiness of the ice cream.
(9) Allow to sit in freezer overnight to allow flavors to incorporate, before digging in.

Enjoy!

Dai Dai

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