Coconut Milk Ice Cream
(Coconut Milk Ice-Cream With Candied Ginger Topping)
Ice cream is clearly not "authentically Thai" in the sense that it has not been served for hundreds of years. Thailand is a tropical country and without modern refrigeration, so it is very difficult to make what would be ’Traditional’ ice cream, but it is now widely available and very popular.
However two things are uniquely Thai: first, it isn't made with cow’s milk, but with coconut milk, and the ice cream is not usually flavored with fruit, but rather with savories such as corn, sweet potato, taro or herbs.
1 fresh pineapple
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup water
1 cup corn kernels, pureed (fresh or canned)
1 tsp vanilla or rosewater (optional)
2 Tbs shredded coconut (see below)
½ to 1 cup sugar.
Pinch of salt
In a dry wok or skillet, over medium heat, toast the coconut 'meat' until golden brown, and let sit to cool.
Split the pineapple in half lengthwise, and scoop out the woody heart of the fruit and then place the two halves in the refrigerator to cool.
Combine the coconut milk and water, and warm it, then stir in the sugar, and stir until dissolved.
In a blender, puree the corn kernels (or use a can of creamed corn), and then stir it into the coconut milk, combining thoroughly.
Add the rose water( if you are using it), and a dash of salt and taste for flavor balance.
Transfer to a mixing bowl and, with a hand beater, whisk thoroughly to incorporate air.
Pour the mixture into the two hollows in the pineapples and transfer to the freezer, and chill
until it is completely solidly set.
Any extra ice cream can be cooled in ramekin dishes or similar.
Slice the pineapple into horizontal slices, and serve with any extra ice-cream, decorating each slice with pieces of candied ginger.
Fold the fried coconut into the reserved ginger syrup, and pour over the slices of ice cream, decorate with mint and lime leaves.
Peel the ginger. I use the bowl of a spoon held upside down, gently scraping the skin off the ginger. This is such a fast and easy way to peel ginger!
Then you carefully slice the ginger into thin slices. The slices should be of uniform thickness so I suggest a sharp mandolin slicer rather than a hand held knife. For a pretty presentation the slices of ginger can be cut into uniform shapes using small cookie cutters.
Preparation of the candied ginger:
1 cup sliced ginger
2 cups water
1 ½ cups palm sugar
baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
If you are using tender young ginger you may leave the skin on. Older ginger should be peeled. I peel ginger using the bowl part of a spoon held firmly up-side-down and scrape the ginger quickly.
Slice the ginger into uniform roundels about an eighth of an inch thick, and then roll them until they are half the original thickness. You can use a marble pastry rolling pin or gently pound with a meat mallet.
Dust the ginger lightly with the baking soda, and leave to stand for about 10 minutes.
Remove the baking soda by vigorously brushing with a stiff bristled brush to produce a slightly
matte texture to the surface, and then immerse in lime juice for an hour. This has the effect
of heightening the flavor, and also giving the ginger a delicate pink color. Bring the water
to a boil, and stirring continuously add the sugar a little at a time until all is dissolved
and forms a sticky, syrupy consistency.
If necessary, add a touch more water to ensure all the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to very low and add the ginger slices and simmer, very gently, for 10 minutes, then turn off the stove and allow the ginger to cool naturally.
Remove the ginger from the liquid and drain it completely, and put it in a sterile preserving jar, and keep in the refrigerator for at least a week before use. Reserve the ginger syrup in another sterilized jar, to pour over the ice cream.
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