Chile, Ginger, and Lemongrass Ice Cream

Chile, Ginger, and Lemongrass Ice Cream

[Photograph: Anders Schonnemann]

When the heat is this high, turn it down with a cold burn. The Ice Creamists' takes the spice of chili, the bite of ginger, and the zest of lemongrass and blends it up with sweetened cream.

Tips: For instructions on how to make this ice cream without an ice cream maker, see the "Tweaks" section of the Gin & Tonic Sorbetto post.

Tweaks: The suggestion to serve this in a cone isn't random—the spiciness of the ice cream begs for a contrast in texture. If you don't have cones at the ready, crumbled cookie or cone pieces will do well. A simple chocolate cookie works.

Reprinted with permission by Matt O'Connor. Copyright © 2013. Published by Octopus Publishing. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time: 40 minutes
  • Total time:overnight, for chilling


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon 
superfine or granulated sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 red chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 stick of lemongrass, finely chopped
  • chili oil, to serve


  1. 1.

    Pour the milk and cream into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to steam but not boil.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof  bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and whisk until pale and slightly fluffy. Gradually and slowly, pour the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking continuously to prevent the eggs from 
scrambling. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place 
over low heat, stirring frequently, until the custard thinly 
coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not let boil.

  3. 3.

    Add the chile, ginger, and lemongrass to the custard and blend until smooth. Strain twice through a strainer or cheesecloth to remove all fibers and seeds. Pour back into the bowl and set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. For more rapid chilling, fill a sink halfway with cold water and ice and place the bowl of mixture in it for 20 minutes. Never put the hot mixture into the refrigerator.

  4. 4.

    Once cooled, cover the mixture and refrigerate, ideally 
overnight, but at least for 6 hours, until thoroughly chilled (at least 40°F). Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  5. 5.

    When the churning is completed, use a spoon or spatula to scrape the ice cream into a freezer-proof container with a lid. Freeze until it reaches the correct scooping texture (at least 
2 hours). Serve in cones.

  6. 6.

    Drizzle each portion with chili oil before serving.