Pandan-Coconut Ice Cream with Candied Peanuts

Pandan is a fragrant tropical herb that’s widely used in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia for both savory and sweet dishes. Its flavor is difficult to pinpoint; it’s uniquely floral, nutty and a little savory. It lends itself well to coconut-based desserts such as this ice cream, which shines from the herbal sweetness of the frozen pandan leaves. Finish your scoop with a generous topping of candied peanuts for a perfectly caramelized crunch.

Tip: You will need an ice cream machine to make this icy treat.

Pandan-Coconut Ice Cream with Candied Peanuts

Yields | 1 quart |

Candied Peanuts

  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup peanuts, roasted and salted

Pandan-Coconut Ice Cream

  • 2 14-oz cans coconut milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 frozen pandan leaves
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

| Preparation – Candied Peanuts | Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water and salt. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil until sugar has dissolved, approximately 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in peanuts. Continue to stir until nuts are coated and sugar begins to crystallize and take on a powdery white coating, 1 to 2 minutes. Place saucepan back on medium heat and continuously stir nuts until caramelized, 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately, scrape out onto baking sheet. Spread into an even layer with the back of a spatula and let cool. Once cool, break into small pieces by hand. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.

| Preparation – Pandan-Coconut Ice Cream | Set aside 2 tablespoons coconut milk.

In a medium saucepan, combine remaining coconut milk, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then remove from heat and add pandan leaves. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.

Remove pandan and set mixture back over medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together reserved coconut milk and cornstarch until starch is completely dissolved. Add to pandan mixture and whisk to combine. Cook, without boiling, until mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Transfer coconut ice cream base to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Pour base into ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, approximately 20 minutes, or until thickened. Transfer coconut ice cream to an airtight storage container and freeze for at least 4 hours, or until firm. Enjoy with a topping of candied peanuts.

Teresa Floyd is a Kansas City-based food writer, editor for the online food publication feedfeed and contributing monthly columnist for Feast Magazine’s Sugar Rush. Find her current creations on Now, Forager, a pastry blog featuring seasonal desserts.

More Cook articles.