Heritage Palm Sugar Ice Cream

Heritage Palm Sugar Ice Cream

Heritage Palm Sugar Ice Cream 2


Palm sugar is so much more than merely sweet. There has been much interest of late in sweeteners other than white granulated sugar. Shauna Sever brought us two recipes, one featuring turbinado and the other utilizing coconut sugar. Here, Ben and Pete Van Leeuwen and Laura O’Neill have brought us an ice cream based on the almost caramel-like flavor of palm sugar. It has depth and interest and transforms milk and cream. This recipe for Heritage Palm Sugar Ice Cream is from their book Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, which is packed with the recipes from their Brooklyn shop.

Author Photo Credit Sidney Bensimon


Don’t miss the Spicy Chocolate Ice Cream with chiles d’arbol and smoked vanilla bean, Mint Chip with 72% chocolate chips, a Vegan Roasted Banana Ice Cream among others with as well as their tips such as the benefits of aging custard and how alcohol can transform texture.

Excerpted from Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream by Ben and Pete Van Leeuwen and Laura O’Neill. Published by Harper Collins, 2015. Photos by Sydney Bensimon.


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Ben and I discovered palm sugar while on a trip to Bali and were instantly smitten with its rich caramel flavor. The ice cream couldn’t be simpler to make: basic ice cream custard flavored only with palm sugar and a touch of coconut oil. We like to think of it as a tropical cousin to our Salted Caramel Ice Cream only with earthier, maltier notes. Palm sugar is made by boiling down sap from coconut palm trees, and also happens to be low on the glucose index, making it a better option for those seeking foods with less sugar.

Heritage Palm Sugar Ice Cream
Makes: about 1 quart
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 grams) unrefined palm sugar
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) kosher salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  1. Pour the cream and milk into a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk in 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about 110 grams) of the palm sugar, the coconut oil, and the salt and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Warm the mixture until you see steam rising from the top.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and set another bowl over it. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, with a kitchen towel underneath it to prevent slipping, whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining 1⁄4 cup (about 30 grams) palm sugar until uniform. While whisking, add a splash of the hot dairy mixture to the yolks. Continue to add the dairy mixture, whisking it in bit by bit, until you’ve added about half. Add the yolk mixture to the remaining dairy mixture in the double boiler. Set the heat under the double boiler to medium and cook the custard, stirring continuously and reducing the heat to medium-low as necessary, until steam begins to rise from the surface and the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Hold the spoon horizontally and run your finger through the custard. If the trail left by your finger stays separated, the custard is ready to be cooled.
  4. Strain the custard into the bowl sitting over the prepared ice bath and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the custard has cooled. Transfer the custard to a quart-size container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.
  5. Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place the container in which you refrigerated the custard in the freezer, so you can use it to store the finished ice cream. Churn the ice cream until the texture resembles “soft serve.” Transfer the ice cream to the chilled storage container and freeze until hardened to your desired consistency. Alternatively, you can serve it immediately—it will be the consistency of gelato. The ice cream will keep, frozen, for up to 7 days.


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