A week ago, I posted a video on Instagram of pandan ice cream churning in our ice cream maker. I received a few recipe requests, so here it is!
Pandan leaves are commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking. It is primarily used as an aromatic and it adds a distinct flavour that’s a cross between vanilla and coconut. It’s often used in desserts (e.g. cake, pudding, jelly) but it also has savory applications. For example, it is a vital ingredient in making Hainanese chicken rice to add the je ne sais quoi. Pandan leaf wrapped grilled chicken is a popular Thai specialty.
If you’re lucky enough to find fresh pandan leaves, great! In Austin, I could only find them frozen at the Asian supermarket. I’ve never tried using dried pandan leaves but I don’t imagine it would bring the brightness that’s needed here. I modified David Lebovitz’s vanilla ice cream recipe in The Perfect Scoop. I swapped out the vanilla beans with the pandan leaves. I also added some coconut milk and increased the amount of salt to coax out the subtle flavors. I opt for raw sugar over white sugar for more complexity. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Pandan Coconut Ice Cream Recipe
Recipe adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
- 6 pandan leaves, tied into 2 knots
- 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup (150 g) raw sugar
- 2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of cream, and salt in a medium saucepan and add the pandan leaves. Steep the pandan leaves in the milk mixture for at least 1 hour. (I reheat the mixture again and steep for an additional hour to pull even more flavor out from the leaves). Strain out the leaves and discard.
Pour the remaining cream and the coconut milk into a medium mixing bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. Set that bowl over an ice bath.
In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and slowly pour the warmed mixture in. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and warm it over medium heat. Stir constantly with a heat-proof spatula until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula. (When I draw my finger through the coat, there should be a clear line). Be careful not to over heat or it will seize up into scrambled eggs. Pour the thickened mixture through the strainer and stir it into the cream and coconut milk.
Cover and chill the mixture in the fridge completely. Churn the chilled mixture in an ice cream maker according to the instructions.