I don’t know about you guys, but personally, I could spend a whole day in an Asian supermarket. Despite the fact that I cannot read any Asian languages. I actually quite like the fact that sometimes when I buy things, it’s a bit of a mystery and process of discovery. Last week I popped into an Asian store in Dallas after we grabbed some Vietnamese food for lunch. The fresh produce section was amazing and I had to restrain myself. Having just picked up a Cuisinart ice cream maker for ten bucks at an estate sale, ice cream was on my mind and I was on the lookout for potential flavourings. The pandan leaves were a no-brainer. I’d never tried them before, had no idea what they tasted like, and were less than 2 dollars. Perfect!
When I opened up the packet I realised they smelled quite similar to taro, which is that purple root vegetable. It’s also one of my FAVOURITE bubble tea flavours. It reminds me of Digestive biscuits from the UK. Nutty and earthy but also sweet, I figured the pandan would be perfect to infuse my ice cream.
Of course, I headed straight to the king of ice cream, David Lebovitz, for some guidance. If you haven’t read his book The Sweet Life in Paris yet, you HAVE to. It is brilliant. And such an accurate portrait of the French. I really cannot wait for his new book ‘l’appart’ to come out.
Of course, I couldn’t just make ice cream, we have to have sauce and toppings too. I figured that coconut would go nicely with the tropical nutty pandan flavour, and chocolate is always good with ice cream. Be careful when you toast up those sweetened coconut shreds though! The sugar in them caramelises quick. The smell is fantastic though. I’ll let you know when my kitchen scents candle range releases. Oh I wish.
pandan ice cream sundaes with coconut chocolate sauce
(ice cream adapted from David Lebovitz's Vanilla Ice Cream, sauce adapted from David Lebovitz's Best Chocolate Sauce)
for the ice cream
Begin by combining the pandan leaves, sugar, salt and 1 cup of milk in a saucepan over a low heat and stir. When the mixture begins to bubble around the edges, turn the heat off and cover.
Leave to infuse for 1 hour then strain out the pandan leaves and discard. Then whisk together the egg yolks and arrowroot powder in a medium size bowl.
Reheat the milk until barely bubbling, then very slowly add to the egg mixture, whisking constantly, about a tablespoon at a time. This will temper the egg yolks so they don't scramble from the heat of the milk.
When all the milk has been added, return the mixture to the saucepan and stir over medium low heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Beware of the mixture sticking to the pan, be a vigorous stirrer!
Take a large bowl and set it inside another bowl filled with ice and water. Pour the cream and remaining cup of milk into the bowl. Place a fine mesh strainer over the top of the bowl.
Pour the egg mixture through the strainer into the cream and milk, and whisk until the mixture is cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight. You will also want to make sure you pop the cold part of your ice cream maker in the freezer overnight too!
The next day, assemble your ice cream maker and pour in the mixture as per the manufacturer's instructions. After about 30 minutes it should be adequately frozen to be poured into a loaf tin and placed in the freezer for a few hours.
for the sauce
Combine the water, cream of coconut, sugar (if using), cocoa powder and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Stir over a medium low heat until just starting to boil.
Take the heat off the pan and let it cool for a few minutes or you will burn the chocolate. Then stir in the chocolate chips and keep stirring until melted. Give the sauce about 20 minutes to thicken and cool down.
You can serve it still warm over ice cream if desired, or keep it in a mason jar in the fridge. You might just be tempted to revisit it with a spoon...
If desired, toast shredded coconut in a pan over a medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Sprinkle over your sundaes, and go ahead and stick a cherry on top too if you fancy it!