Taro Ice Cream

July 10, 2009 at 10:23 am 31 comments

Here is the ideal summer day.

It would begin with waking up at 9:30 feeling refreshed and glowing. I would curl up on the couch by the window, with the Seattle Times, a warm cinnamon roll (prepared the night before, of course,) and a warm cup of jasmine tea. This leisurely breakfast would be followed by a quick shower, before heading  to the park with The Canon.

At the park, I would sit on the sunniest bench and watch the cute kids and the cute dogs go by, photographing every leaf and swing and discarded soccer ball that strikes inspiration. I’d stop at the frozen yogurt place and eat it slowly with the little tester spoon as I walked back home. Mom would come home, we’d make and eat a lovely dinner, and watch Iron Chef before bed.

Well, okay. Here’s how my actual summer days have been going.

I am currently working at my mom’s office, which means I am waking up at 5 in the morning. Breakfast is a bowl of cereal (pretty much inhaled, not eaten) and a record-speed shower before driving to her office. This is followed by a full 8 hour work day of office work, before driving back home and collapsing in a tired heap on the bed. But everything is better at 10 PM, watching Iron Chef and eating homemade taro ice cream.

Taro roots are sometimes called the potatoes of the tropics. Steamed, they’re creamy and starchy and similar to a baked yam. My mom and her brothers used to eat taro as a treat when they were growing up – steamed and then dipped in sugar. My mom requested this ice cream out of the blue. When she came home with taro and steamed it herself, I knew she was serious. I tried to find a recipe online but couldn’t, so I improvised. It’s one of my first experimental recipes and I think it was a success.

On another note, I’d like to announce the winner of the Mojito Jelly Giveaway… Comment #3, Nutmeg Nanny. (Sorry Dad, no luck.) Congratulations, I’ll be sending you a jar shortly!

I didn’t skimp on milk, cream, or eggs, so the taro ice cream came out really rich and creamy. This ice cream uses steamed taro – use a vegetable steamer and cook until tender. Then use a potato masher or fork to mash the taro into as smooth and creamy a paste as you can. I couldn’t get it smooth as I wanted, so I threw it into my food processor for a while too.

Taro Ice Cream
Makes about a quart

1 cup mashed steamed taro
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
6 egg yolks

Heat heavy cream, whole milk, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer then remove from heat.

Beat egg yolks until light, then add in a ladle-ful of the hot cream mixture, tempering the eggs. Keep adding the hot cream bit by bit until the egg mixture is warmed, then pour the egg-cream mixture back into the sauce pan. Cook over medium high heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. (You should be able to drag a finger through the coated spoon and have the line stay.)

Pour the custard through a strainer and then whisk in the mashed taro. I couldn’t get rid of all the lumps, so I pulsed it in the food processor. Cover the custard with plastic wrap and chill until cold, then churn in an ice cream maker using the manufacturer’s instructions.

Printer Friendly Version – Taro Ice Cream

PS: I applied for a job at Starbucks. I’ve had my interviews and they’ll let me know this week!

Entry filed under: Frozen Desserts. Tags: , , , , .

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31 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jet  |  July 10, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Nice post, Elissa – the ice cream does look rich and buttery, a perfect golden colour. And i love the polka dot background in your photos – it’s subdued and doesn’t overwhelm the muted colour of the ice cream (plus polka-dots always seem summery to me, no matter what colour). Good luck with the Starbucks gig.

  • 2. Eliana  |  July 10, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Great look ice cream Elissa. And I just love your idea of the perfect summer day!

  • 3. Deanna  |  July 10, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Your photos in this post are absolutely beautiful!

  • 4. Jesse  |  July 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Sweet! We should open an experiemental ice cream shoppe together, hah

  • 5. Elissa's Dad  |  July 10, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    How did I know I wouldn’t win ;) I think the fix was in! I tried this ice cream, it is rich and cramy with a mild nutty tast from the taro. It has a slightly starchy taste as an added kick to let you know it is in fact taro.. Very nice and subtle.

  • 6. Michelle  |  July 10, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    This ice cream looks delicious. I bet your mom was ecstatic. :)

  • 7. tianne  |  July 10, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    what ice cream maker do you have?

  • 9. Baking Monster  |  July 10, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks, and your writing is so lovely. You see I just got a ice cream maker but havent made anything because im scared it will be a disaster but your giving me hope. looks great!

  • 10. Monica h  |  July 10, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Sounds like an ideal day to me, sorry your day wasn’t like that, but the ice cream seems to have been a highlight!

    Hope you get the job. If I were closer I’d come visit you and order a grande iced mocha, hold the whip :-)

  • 11. nutmegnanny  |  July 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Great ice cream and thanks for the giveaway!!! I can’t wait to try the jelly:)

  • 12. Elissa's Dad  |  July 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm


    I’d love to hear what you have to say about the jelly on lamb burgers….can’t wait for the comment. I had it on some lamb chops over the 4th….spectacular!

  • 13. Valerie  |  July 11, 2009 at 10:41 am

    It’s been ages since I’ve tasted taro, but I do remember the subtle sweetness. Bravo on improvising and succeeding!

    And your “ideal summer day” does sound wonderful… I hope you get to have at least one of those this year!

  • 14. Suzy  |  July 11, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Your ice cream is unique and sounds delish. Beautiful photos too! Come check out the Ice Cream Social even I’m having this weekend on my blog and link up if you’d like. There are some great ice cream recipes being shared. Good luck on your interview :-)

  • 15. Marta  |  July 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    What a creative ice cream flavour you give us!!! I love taro, especially those Chinese pastries with the taro surprise in the middle… ohhh my knees weaken!
    You ideal summer day sounds delightful! But working is fun too, you get to indulge in little pleasure throughout the day and treasure the time off even more!

  • 16. Amanda  |  July 11, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I’m so impressed with you and others who make all sorts of crazy ice creams. When it comes to ice cream, I guess I’m pretty basic and boring. :)

  • 17. Wendy  |  July 12, 2009 at 4:03 am

    Mmm I love taro ice cream. For some reason, it’s always tinted purple when I buy it at ice cream shops. But strangely enough, I don’t eat taro it as it is..I think it’s too mushy.

    I’m working too, but at a biochemistry lab for work experience. Oooh and I also applied for a job at SB last year. I filled in the form, and didn’t get any further. It’d be super cool if you got the job, good luck! :)

  • 18. Lori  |  July 12, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I am so curious about this ice cream. Looks so good.

  • 19. Jennifer  |  July 13, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Your ‘actual’ day reminds me of the summer I spent working three jobs, one of which was at my dad’s office. I feel for you! You do some superb work with this unique ice cream. Splendid photos too!

  • 20. stephchows  |  July 13, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Good luck on the job front!! I’ve never heard of Taro.. but if it’s like a sweet potato I know I’ll love it!

  • 21. Erin  |  July 13, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Super photos–and I love the cute bowls! Good luck with your interviews! :)

  • 22. Susan from Food Blogga  |  July 13, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    I just had taro fro yo at a local fro yo place and loved it! Your ice cream must be scrumptious!

  • 23. Devona  |  July 14, 2009 at 8:37 am

    That ice cream looks yummy and an early congratulations on getting the job.

  • 24. Cookin' Canuck  |  July 16, 2009 at 6:46 am

    What an original recipe and beautiful photos!

    I am passing on the Kreativ Blogger award to you and your wonderful blog. Please see my site for details on the award.

  • 25. Darina  |  July 16, 2009 at 11:02 am

    What a cute picture–love the polka dots. I’ve been in an ice cream eating frenzy lately. Can’t seem to get enough. This one sound yummy.

  • 26. Sis  |  July 22, 2009 at 7:03 pm


    I’ve never made anything but basic ice creams before (vanilla, chocolate, cola, and peach) and you have me wanting to experiment. :)

  • 27. Ramses  |  August 13, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Was searching for a recipe for taro ice cream and found your blog. I’m going to try it after visiting my neighborhood Asian grocery store to buy taro.tw Hopefully soon :-)

  • 28. Clifton Gwabu  |  April 30, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Wao! your taro icecream looks very attractive. I love to try it out.

  • 29. Patricia  |  September 18, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    You had me at “taro”…one of my favorite flavors of all time, and perfect in your beautiful ice cream. Love how you didn’t dye it purple, either. The only problem is that this post makes me miss home!

  • 30. SJ  |  June 29, 2011 at 12:26 am

    This looks amazing! Genious really. Do you taste the taro a lot? Is it reminiscent of the flavour of taro bubble tea?

  • 31. Jess  |  February 22, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Just made this. Added red and blue food coloring to make it purple (not sure why that seems to be the standard) as well as added a little vanilla and ground cardimom. It was amazing!


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Elissa Bernstein

I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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