Lemongrass Pandan Ice Cream
Lemongrass Ice Cream – Takhir I-tim – Thai style Ice Cream can easily be made at home, flavored with the ubiquitous pandan.
When I was traveling around Thailand and Southeast Asia in February , the variety of ice cream and fruit juices were amazing – roselle (hibiscus), chrysanthemum, purple yam, taro, pandan, guava, lemongrass…and the list goes on. Fruit juice especially is sold on every street corner in Bangkok. Even though they are pre packaged in plastic containers, the juice is so fresh. It tastes like someone is squeezing the juice straight from the fruit directly into your mouth
History of Ice Cream in Thailand
I-tim, as ice cream is known in Thailand dates back to the time of King Rama V, the fifth monarch of Siam (present day Thailand). He is known for modernizing Siam and imported the first ice cream machine into Thailand in the late 1800’s. At first, only a treat to be enjoyed by the wealthy, the first i-tim was only made from coconut water and ice. Coconut milk was later added and today the rich French custard base ice creams and all varieties of ice cream and ice pops are available in every possible flavor you can imagine.
One of the best versions I had when I was in Thailand was this Mango & Sticky Rice gelato pop. On a scorcher of a day when I was about to faint from heat stroke, I was so grateful to find the Stick Shop where I was able to cool off with this treat before I fainted. Using one of the most popular flavors in Thailand, here is my version of Takhir (lemongrass ) I-tim.
In Thailand, you will find very colorful treats, especially purple and green. The purple hued sweets are made with either taro or purple yam. The green one are pandan. Pandan is like our vanilla extract. However, it is often the dominant flavor in desserts and everything is flavored with pandan…from toast to dessert to chicken wings.
No dessert is complete without the heady fragrance of pandan. It is made by extracting the liquid from the leaves of the screwpine tree. I am lucky in that here in NYC I can get the actual leaves. Look in the frozen section of your local Asian market. It may be labeled as pandan, pandanus, screwpine or bai-toey…to name a few…not sure of the name in other Asian languages. However, I can also just as easily get the extract or the paste which is just as easily available and is what I used in this recipe.
IN THE MAKING – HOW TO MAKE LEMONGRASS ICE CREAM
This ice cream is perfect to make the Thai Ice Cream Sandwich I posted on Monday here. It’s super rich and creamy.
The pandan flavor is quite strong, so if you want the lemongrass flavor to shine more, reduce the quantity of pandan.
Lemongrass Ice Cream – Takhir I-tim
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 4 eggs
- 7 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon pandan extract
- Pound lemongrass very well with a mallet, separating the fibers.
- Place pounded lemongrass in a saucepan with the cream and the milk. Heat just until bubbles start to form on the perimeter. DO NOT BOIL. Turn off heat and leave for at least 4 hours for the lemongrass to infuse the cream. The longer you leave it, the more lemongrass flavor the ice cream will have. It's best if you leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
- Strain cream and place in the top pot of a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, use a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Reheat cream again until just warm, but not boiling.
- Meanwhile, combine eggs, sugar and pandan extract in a bowl. Beat well until light and foamy, about 5 minutes with an electric mixer.
- On medium heat, slowly add egg mixture to cream while whisking constantly. Be very careful to slowly temper the eggs so that they do not scramble.
- Transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill.
- Transfer to freezer and mix with a spoon once every hour for 3 hours. Freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.
- Continue to freeze until firm.
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