Made with milk, rather than cream and eggs, Lemongrass Ice Cream (Kem Xa) is thickened with cornstarch, which Vietnamese cooks use to yield a smooth texture. The result is a lighter-than-usual ice cream that allows the lemongrass to shine.
When preparing the lemongrass, you need to remove only the dry outer leaves and trim any dry edges at the very top. You can then use as much of the stalk as you like, as it is discarded after the milk is infused. In fact, sometimes when I trim lemongrass for other Vietnamese Desserts Recipe, I freeze the tough top sections for making this ice cream.
SORBET AND ICE CREAM TIPS
- Prepare the base a day or two in advance of churning and let it chill and develop flavor in the refrigerator.
- Churn the sorbet or ice cream at least 2 hours before serving, pack tightly into a container to prevent crystallization, and place in the freezer to firm up and smooth.
- Let the sorbet or ice cream stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes to soften before serving.
- The flavor of a sorbet or ice cream fades after 3 or 4 days. To revive it, thaw it until it is once again a liquid, make any flavor adjustments, and refreeze in an ice-cream maker.