If you have travelled through South East Asia, or even ventured into a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant, you’ll probably have seen pandan on the menu. It’s sometimes used in savoury dishes such as curries and fried chicken, but its best use is in desserts.
Also known as the “vanilla of Asia”, pandan brings a subtle flavour to the dish as well as offering fragrance and colour. This recipe for pandan ice cream won’t overpower your taste buds like some other ice cream recipes can – think lavender or rosewater.
If you’re going to make pandan ice cream, you’ll need to take a visit to your local Asian grocer as it’s not commonly available in supermarkets. You can also source pandan at larger fruit and vegetable markets if the season is right. I used 10 leaves but a few more or less wouldn’t have a big impact on the recipe.
- 10 pandan leavesQuick Tip
- 1 ½ cups full cream milk (whole milk)
- 2 cups thickened cream (heavy cream)
- ¾ cup sugar
- few drops coconut essence, to taste
- Cut the pandan leaves into small pieces and set aside.
- Heat the milk, cream and sugar in a saucepan on medium high heat until simmering then reduce to medium-low. Add the pandan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add a few drops of coconut essence and stir into the mixture.
- Remove from heat and pour into an airtight container. Chill in refrigerator overnight to allow the pandan flavours to infuse.
- Strain the liquid through a fine sieve and discard the leftover solids.
- Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Scoop ice cream into a container and freeze for two hours or until hardened.
How to make this recipe without an ice cream maker
Follow steps 1-5 above then, after straining, add the mixture to a container and freeze. Every 20 minutes, remove the ice cream and beat it with a whisk until smooth then return to the freezer. Repeat this step until it gets too hard to whisk (3 or 4 times is good) and you’ll end up with a delicious dessert that’s not icy.
- If you’ve ever bought pandan cakes or ice cream from the shop, you’ll notice it is a very green colour. This is because food colouring has been added so if you like your food extra green, then simply add a few drops of green colouring when you add the coconut flavouring.
- Asian ice cream is often quite icy and doesn’t tend to use egg yolks. I didn’t use them in this recipe but you could add 3-5 yolks during heating to make a creamier, denser version of this one.