Coconut-Palm Sugar Ice Cream Recipe

Photographs: Leela Punyaratabandhu

Note: Since this ice cream aims to mimic traditional Thai custard, pandan leaves are used to impart the scent associated with it. If you can find pandan leaves, you can use a few drops of pandan extract. If you don't like or can't find either one, a teaspoon of good old vanilla extract can be used. Simply add it to the custard just before you churn it.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Makes: 1 quart

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  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 pandan leaves, tied into a knot (optional)
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cups) palm sugar
  • 1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
  • Dessicated coconut shavings for garnish, optional


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, salt, and cornstarch until smooth; set side.

  2. Heat coconut milk, heavy cream, palm sugar, brown sugar, and pandan leaves in heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan over medium heat stirring constantly until palm sugar is completely dissolved (about 10 minutes—mixture should not come to a boil). Remove and discard the pandan leaves and remove pot from heat.

  3. Slowly pour 1/2 of the cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Once the two are well mixed, pour the egg yolk-cream mixture back into the cream pot and whisk to combine. Set the pot over low heat and cook, stirring constantly until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and a line drawn through it with a finger stays clear, 5 to 7 minutes.

  4. Remove the pot from heat and let the custard cool completely to room temperature. (To cool faster, transfer custard to a medium bowl set in a large bowl filled with ice)

  5. Churn the custard in an electric ice cream maker following the manufacturer's instructions. Freeze until desired texture is reached. Serve the ice cream with dessicated coconut shavings on top, if desired.

Special equipment

An electric ice cream maker