The best, and perhaps only, reason to ask: "What's this green stuff on my ice cream?"
Shiso, a Japanese herb similar to mint, is an unlikely, but perfectly suited pairing to rich coconut ice cream. Muddling the leaves with sugar creates bright green, sweet-herbal granules perfect for sprinkling atop creamy, slightly-nutty coconut ice cream...or licking straight off the spoon.
Toasted Coconut Ice Cream with Shiso Sugar Makes 1 quart
2 cups flaked unsweetened coconut 2 cups whole milk 2 cups heavy cream 1 generous pinch kosher salt 7 egg yolks 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla
6 shiso leaves* ¼ cup granulated sugar
To make the ice cream: Spread unsweetened shredded coconut on a sheet pan and toast in a 350 F oven for about 6 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Cool completely.
Combine milk, 1 ½ cups heavy cream, salt, 1 cup sugar and toasted coconut in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to just a boil. Turn off heat and allow mixture to steep for at least 1 hour.
Whisk together yolks with remaining ¼ cup sugar. Rewarm milk/coconut mixture and gradually pour milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly, to bring yolks up to temperature. Return yolk/milk mixture to saucepan and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and when you swipe your finger across the back of the spoon the line stays.
Remove from heat and strain into a large bowl over the remaining ½ cup heavy cream and vanilla. Cool completely over an ice bath and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight. Process in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturers directions.
To make the Shiso Sugar: Mash together leaves and sugar either in a bowl with a muddle or in a food processor until the shiso is completely integrated into the sugar.
To serve: scoop ice cream, garnish with shiso sugar and leftover toasted coconut.
Toasted Coconut Ice Cream adapted from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop