Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lemongrass Ice Cream

I came up with this recipe for a delicious lemongrass ice cream out of my love for exotic ice cream flavors. I was inspired by the newly opened Tara’s Organic Ice Cream in Berkeley, CA, which offers up delicious, homemade, and extreme ice cream, ranging in flavor from garam masala to goat cheese raspberry. I have made ice cream many times before, but have never been fully satisfied with the recipes I have used for the base. The ice cream base that I came up with produces an ice cream that is extremely creamy yet not overly rich or overwhelmed with egg flavor. I use light cream cut with non-fat condensed milk to reduce the richness without sacrificing flavor or texture. Moreover, I only use two egg yolks, which is just enough to create a custard that can take up plenty of air during churning without making ice cream taste like a hollandaise sauce. The refreshing citrusy flavor of lemongrass pairs excellently with the sweetness of the ice cream to create one delicious dessert.

Note: If you do not have an ice cream maker, do not despair. Pour the chilled custard into a wide, shallow baking dish and freeze, stirring vigorously every 30 minutes or so to break up the ice crystals (sort of like making a granita). In about 2-3 hours, you should have ice cream. While the ice cream produced by this method is not as smooth or airy as ice cream made in a machine, it is just as delicious.

Lemongrass Ice Cream (makes about 1 1/2 pints)

2 cups light or regular cream
3/4 of a 14 oz can of nonfat sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks
3-4 stalks lemongrass
1 pinch salt

Cut off the root ends of the lemongrass stalks and remove the outer layer. Finely chop the lemongrass to obtain about 3/4 cup. Warm the cream, condensed milk, lemongrass, and salt in medium saucepan over medium heat until mixture steams. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from heat and let steep at least 30 minutes but preferably up to 1.5 hours. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks to combine. Reheat cream mixture until it steams, but does not boil. Slowly pour in a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly. Then pour egg and cream mixture back into the pot. Heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 175 degrees F or until mixture coats the back of spoon. Strain mixture, cool and freeze in ice cream maker. Then freeze in freezer until hard (3 or more hours).

Photo by Elizabeth Cunningham

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