Coconut and Lemon Grass Ice-cream

2 September 2005

Although my all-time favourite ice-cream is classic vanilla, I really love this exotic flavour as well. Using coconut milk instead of normal milk gives a richer flavour and makes surprisingly good custard (I wasn’t sure at first) – the subtle yet fragrant flavour from the lemon grass and lime rind works well with the creamy texture. The lime syrup makes a really nice finishing touch too. You can scoop it like normal ice-cream, but using moulds gives a more interesting presentation especially if you have guests around :)

serves 5-6

4 lemon grass stalks
370ml coconut milk
3 egg yolks
90g caster sugar
10ml cornflour
120ml double cream
finely grated rind of 1 lime

For the lime syrup

70g caster sugar
70g water
1 lime, thinly sliced
30ml lime juice

Cut the lemon grass stalks in half lengthways and bruise them with a rolling pin. Place in a saucepan, add the coconut milk and bring to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about half an hour. Remove the lemon grass.

Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar and cornflour until pale. Gradually add the coconut milk, whisking constantly.

Return to the saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat, strain into a clean bowl and leave to cool. Chill.

Stir the cream and lime rind into the custard. Churn in a machine until thick. Freeze.

To make the syrup, heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Boil for about 5 minutes without stirring. Reduce the heat, add the lime slices and juice and simmer for another 5 minutes. Cool.

Food - Sweet        51 comments    Permalink

  • That looks insanely good.

    I’ve just started reading your site after finding you on a link from Clements A La Cuisine... Must say i love your photography, and excellent recipes.

    Any tips on how you take such great shots ??

    Posted by Matt | 2 September 2005 #
  • Dear Keiko

    This looks ab-so-lutely, scrumptiously dee-vine! You manage to turn the most simple desserts into stunning showstoppers. Do you just use metal rings as moulds? And do you have to prepare them in any special way or are they fairly easy to slip off when frozen?

    Posted by S | 2 September 2005 #
  • Ooooh I love coconut and lemongrass. I’m assuming the flavors meld well together (even if lemongrass can come out quite strong)? Thanks for this lovely post! This may be a nice (refreshing?) end to an Asian-themed dinner.

    Posted by Mel | 2 September 2005 #
  • This looks so fantastic and the recipe reads so well on my palate that I am definitely giving it a try. I have never found lemon grass stalks in Italy but guess what? I found some in Germany and brought a few back with me. Coincidence that you posted a recipe to use them? Hmmm...thanks again Keiko for a lovely treat for the eyes. You rock!

    Posted by rowena | 2 September 2005 #
  • Beautiful Keiko.

    This picture is so stunning.

    What a good idea to combine coconut and lemongrass into a great icecream.


    Posted by fanny | 2 September 2005 #
  • YUM!!!!!

    Posted by clare eats | 2 September 2005 #
  • It looks so beautiful, Keiko. I would LOVE to try some...yum, yum!

    Posted by Cin | 2 September 2005 #
  • Somebody pass the spoon.....YUM!

    Posted by Melissa | 2 September 2005 #
  • Stunning, as usual. I love your presentations - the glossy column looks gorgeous. Oddly enough, I was just pondering a honey semifreddo. It must be something in the air!

    Posted by tara | 2 September 2005 #
  • This looks magnificent! And the flavor combination sounds delicious...I love how the syrup makes the top look so impossibly shiny!

    Posted by joey | 2 September 2005 #
  • OMG Keiko!!! I love coconut ice cream. It is one of Malaysian classic flavours! We call it aiskrim santan - santan is the Malay word for coconut milk. And the idea of pairing it with lemon grass is ingenous!

    OOOOOOOOO your pics and description is stunning, as always! I must try this and make another one of the Malaysian classic flavour...

    Posted by Lisa | 2 September 2005 #
  • Hi there,

    Matt - thank you for your kind words. I must say I’m a beginner when it comes to taking pictures but I always try to do the best I can with natural light.

    S - thanks for your notes as always. Yes, I use metal rings - you just need to warm them with your hands to remove them, it’s much easier than mousse etc.

    Mel - I love to have this at the end of an Asian-themed meal ;) The lemon grass flavour is actually quite subtle.

    Rowena - I *knew* you were going to get some lemon grass ;) I prefer this to the caramel balsamic ice-cream.

    Fanny, Clare, Cin, Melissa - it’s a great combo, I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

    Tara - thank you, and honey semifreddo! I’ve always wanted to try it, is that Nigella’s recipe?

    Joey - it IS shiny, isn’t it... the citrus flavour of lime works really well with the cream.

    Lisa - thank you for the info, Matthew (my other half) has actually lived in Malaysia, but he doesn’t like this ice-cream... what a shame! Let me know what you think when you try it out.

    Posted by keiko | 2 September 2005 #
  • hi keiko, that looks absolutely beautiful, as always...i love how you captured that precise moment just as the gorgeous lime syrup is on the verge of langurously trickling down...

    Posted by J | 2 September 2005 #
  • Your picture is gorgeous (should I add "as always" ?), I especially love the light/shadow balance in this one.

    I have a question though : what is the purpose of the use of corn flour in this recipe ? Does the custard not thick enough because of the coco milk ?

    Thanks for your answer,

    Cheers !


    PS : Thanks for having dropped by my blog (whith such a jnoice comment !!!) , if you’re intersted in any of the recipe I can manage the translation for you !

    Posted by Frédérique | 2 September 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko- Again another wonderful and very interesting dessert. I tried desserts made of coconut milk with screw pine before, they actually taste good but I haven’t tried the combination of coconut with lemongrass. I myself is a fan of coconut dessert coz it tasted great and it is quite different from the rest. I live in a tropical country so coconut can be bought fresh just on every corner of the streets, they actually open the coconut infront of you. We use coconut milk a lot to make our native rice cakes and also in cooking. I also like the combination of coconut and mango. Thanks by the way the picture is again award winning.

    Posted by Cathy | 2 September 2005 #
  • Great combination of flavours Keiko.

    Posted by Barbara | 3 September 2005 #
  • hey, definitely something to try! wonder if i have anymore lemon grass in the freezer. it’s difficult to get them here in ireland, so my aunt stock them everytime we travel home to malaysia... :)

    Posted by Lil | 3 September 2005 #
  • While I don’t know that it would have gone through the trouble to mould the ice cream myself, I must say that that is one amazing photo, Keiko. Just beautiful.

    Posted by Nic | 3 September 2005 #
  • I’m not going to congratulate you on your photos anymore, it’ll just encourage you and I’ll get even more depressed.

    Lovely work. Damn, I couldn’t help myself.

    Posted by Monkey Gland | 3 September 2005 #
  • I’ve salivating in front of my computer screen now... slurp! ;-)

    Posted by PIggy | 4 September 2005 #
  • It’s definitely incredible how you can change food in art !

    I love your shot.


    Posted by Sakana | 4 September 2005 #
  • Hi there, thanks again for all your kind notes!

    Frederique - adding corn flour makes the texture more like Gelato - it stops ice-cream getting super hard and I always add some when I make custard based ice-cream. I’m definitely gonna ask you to translate some recipes for me, thanks for your kind offer!

    Cathy - I’m jealous you can buy super fresh coconuts! I actually had this ice-cream with mango the other day and it was divine!

    Lil - I’m a bit surprised that you can’t get hold of lemon grass in Ireland - but you’ve got even better stuff in your freezer ;) Do you often go to Malaysia?

    Nic - thank you, moulding ice-cream isn’t very difficult - although as you can see in the picture, I was in a bit of a rush when I was moulding it and it came out with a big hole in it!

    Monkey Gland - oh, I’m a big fan of your photos, so don’t get depressed...

    Piggy - I do that all the time in front of my monitor :)

    Posted by keiko | 5 September 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko

    Thank you for your metal ring mould tip. I’m definitely going to try it out.

    Posted by S | 5 September 2005 #
  • Thanks for the tip Keiko !



    Posted by Frédérique | 5 September 2005 #
  • Exquisite lighting, it really brings out the texture of the ice cream.

    Posted by Smoove D | 6 September 2005 #
  • keiko, it’s just difficult to get hold of lemon grass but odd times, chinese supermarket does do the trick! unfortunately, no, i don’t go back often but between family members etc, there’s always someone coming and going every couple of months or so.. :)

    Posted by Lil | 6 September 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko, outstanding photo, as always. I wanted to ask about the topping glaze. Did you use gelatin to make it, or is it just the syrup? I saw similar shiny glazes in some of your previous creations. i am very interested in finding out how you make them.

    Thanks for inspiring us,

    Posted by zinnur | 6 September 2005 #
  • Hi there,

    S, Frederique - I hope you’ll enjoy it.

    Smoove D - thanks for your kind words as always!

    Lil - I agree about Chinese supermarkets, I can rarely afford Japanese stuff here as it is very expensive, but I can find some of them much cheaper (and usually better) at Asian supermarkets. I’ve never been to any Asian countries, there must be so many fascinating places - I should visit somewhere next time I go to Japan...

    Zinnur - thanks for your notes. As for the glaze, this one is just syrup as you can tell from the recipe, but for other cakes I have used shop bought glacage/nappage. They were supposed to be very good (as they were French :)), but I actually found them a bit tricky to use, so I think I’m going to make on my own next time. You should be able to make plain glacage with sugar syrup + gelatine.

    Posted by keiko | 7 September 2005 #
  • Ooooh, Keiko, I’m going to try this recipe. I found some lemongrass in the supermarket recently (unfortunately only the leaves) but it tasted ok when I used it in cooking. I was actually looking at a ginger-lemongrass sorbet recipe but lime-lemongrass sounds more interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted by Lynn | 7 September 2005 #
  • Hi Lynn - I was reading Japanese Elle a Table the other day and discovered that lemongrass is sold there as just leaves! Why? Ginger lemongrass sorbet sounds delicious, do you mind if I ask you to make it some time?

    Posted by keiko | 8 September 2005 #
  • I don’t know why it is either. Before I found the fresh leaves, I used to use dry ones, but they look like leaves too. And everyone knows the stalk is more flavorful part!

    I’m going to make the sorbet too, but first, your ice-cream. I already bought the limes =o) I’ll let you know when I make the sorbet.

    Posted by Lynn | 8 September 2005 #
  • Lynn - I know, it’s very strange... Looking forward to seeing your sorbet :)

    Posted by keiko | 10 September 2005 #
  • Lynn - thanks for the comment and link, I’m sorry but it didn’t show up properly and I had to delete it. Could you try again without the html?

    Posted by keiko | 15 September 2005 #
  • hi there

    i do love coconut thats the best EVER!!! Although in have never tried lemon grass im very willing to try it and im sure ill love it!

    Posted by Sexy Eyes | 30 September 2005 #
  • hello!

    My name is Dina, I’m from Israel, and I got to your blog the Melissa Kronenthal’s "The Traveler’s Lunchbox". It’s my first time here, and I have to say that this blog is totally beautiful.

    I think this recipe should be amazing. I have 3 stalks of lemongrass just itching to be used, and this recipe looks like the one. :)

    Posted by Malka Lev Adom | 3 October 2005 #
  • Hi Sexy Eyes - thank you for your note, the lemon grass flavour is quite subtle and I hope you enjoy it!

    Hi Dina - thank you for dropping by, I hope you enjoyed the ice-cream (are you a salsa expert by the way? It looks fascinating!)

    Posted by keiko | 19 October 2005 #
  • Hi, Keiko!

    I love the pic. Do you happen to have it in a larger version so that I can set it as a wallpaper.

    It’s so refreshing to see this pic!

    Posted by coffee81 | 24 February 2006 #
  • Hi Keiko!

    This will be my first try of making your lovely and super dishes. Please give me some tips on molding the ice cream: do you grease the mold? When do you pour/put it into a mold, after churning it in the ice cream maker or after chill the cooked mixture? And lastly how do you get it out of the mold? While waiting for your reply, I am going to start making it. Will report back. Thanks so very much.

    Posted by sierravalleygirl | 26 May 2006 #
  • Hi Sierravalleygirl - thank you for your note, luckily moulding ice-cream isn’t difficult :) You just put it into moulds when you finish churning - and for un-moulding, it should come out easily by taking it out of the freezer for a while and then warming up with your hands. Let me know how it goes :)

    Posted by keiko | 30 May 2006 #
  • see also: judih’s observations from kibbutz: Fresh lemon grass fields in Israel become mecca for cancer patients. Just search Israel and lemon grass and you’ll easily find the article. Great idea to put lemon grass in ice cream. Thanks. Dudley

    Posted by Dudley | 3 August 2007 #
  • Hello Keiko, I have recently made your lovely Coconut & Lemongrass Ice-cream and I must say, it’s the most delicious icecream that I have tasted for a long while. I don’t have an ice-cream churn, so I just froze it in a bowl and then beat it again when it was part-frozen to break up any ice crystals. I did wonder if the flavour of the lemongrass would come through as it is so delicate, but it did – to perfection. Many thanks for this lovely recipe which I am sure I will make again and again.

    Posted by Hilary Victoria | 21 February 2008 #
  • Hi Hilary – glad you enjoyed the ice-cream, you’ve made me want to make it soon :)

    Posted by keiko | 4 March 2008 #
  • Just a quick question:- I’ve got all the other ingredients, but i was having trouble getting lemon grass stalks. So would lemon grass paste be an acceptable replacement? And if so in what quantities?? Thank you , i cannot wait to try this recipe out :)

    Posted by Cameron Wares | 28 May 2008 #
  • I’m into making homemade ice cream and I came across this recipe a few days back so I gave it a try. The result is excellent and the lime syrup adds a nice touch. I will make this again.

    Posted by Andrew | 7 June 2008 #
  • Hi Cameron – I’ve actually made this without lemon grass and it was lovely too, or you can add lemon zest instead. I’ve never used lemon grass paste so let me know how it turns out with it :)

    Hi Andrew – glad you enjoyed it!

    Posted by keiko | 1 July 2008 #
  • Hi Keiko and others on this forum

    Loved your ice cream recipe, instead of using lemon grass I used crushed cardamom seeds and a little rosewater, typical Indian flavors that go well with coconut it came out fab!

    Posted by June | 20 August 2008 #
  • Hi June – thank you for your note, the cardamom and rosewater flavour must be fab, I must try it sometime!

    Posted by keiko | 28 October 2008 #
  • What a beautiful website, stunning photographs and mouth watering recipes. Can’t wait to try the icecream – and will be having a rumage and looking at all your other ideas.

    Posted by loopy | 23 April 2010 #
  • Was looking for a lemongrass sorbet recipe and found this. Looks wonderful! Can’t wait to try it. The whole site is wonderful, I’m going to keep looking around and will share with friends with the same interest. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by smslo | 15 September 2010 #
  • OK, Just finished preparing this recipe…DIVINE!!! I had to convert to ‘american’ measurements and only had one lemongrass stalk, so had to do some math to reduce ingredient proportions, but it turned out SO NICELY!!! The lime syrup really adds a nice flavor to the lemongrass ice cream. My batch made about two servings, which most has been tasted away while freezing. I don’t have an ice cream churn, so just stirred every half hour or so till it came to the consistency I wanted. Lovely. Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes. Thank you for sharing!

    Posted by smslo | 17 September 2010 #
  • Now I know exactly what to do with those mysterious and wonderful lemongrass stalks I see at my grocery store! Thks for sharing :) And btw, HOW did you get that shot with the syrup looking like jelly on top of that ice-cream?! Gorgeous!

    Posted by Muneeba | 26 June 2011 #

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