Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

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Lavender ice cream
Lavender ice cream

I have several flower beds but one is filled with only lavender.  That's it.  I love the color, the smell, and the beauty of lavender plants in all stages of their growth.  Right now my lavender bed is just about to burst into full bloom, which is the perfect time to pick and dry some of the flower buds for my herb cupboard.

Fresh picked lavender buds
Fresh picked lavender buds

It is also the right time to use some of it fresh and the favorite at the moment is in ice cream.  As you would guess lavender is a strong flavor so a little goes a long ways, but when you hit the balance just right it is unique and smooth and really good.  This ice cream is sweetened with honey which pairs well with lavender and the lemon juice and zest help balance it all out so that it is not cloyingly sweet.

Ok, enough pictures, time to eat!
Ok, enough pictures, time to eat!

I think this is best after it freezes for at least a few hours.  Another great thing about this ice cream is that it stays scoopable even after a night in my -5 (F) freezer.  If you don't have fresh lavender you can easily use dried, just cut the amount to 1 tablespoon.  If you are not sure of using lavender this same recipe would work great for a rosemary or lemon balm or mint ice cream as well.  See what is in your herb patch and give it a try, you might be very pleasantly surprised.  Ice cream is always welcome at our 4th celebrations.  Here is wishing everyone a great holiday!

Lavender Ice Cream
Refreshing, cool, smooth taste of summer with a surprise ingredient, lavender.
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs fresh lavender, or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

  1. Combine the milk and cream in a sauce pan and bring up to just below boiling over a medium low flame. Be sure this does not boil. Move to a cool burner and add the lavender and let it steep for 15 minutes.
  2. While the lavender is steeping, in a small bowl combine the egg yolks, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk together until the salt is completely dissolved.
  3. Strain the hot milk and lavender, then return the hot mixture to your sauce pan. Add the honey and stir well until the honey is melted and incorporated into the milk. Be careful here the milk mixture is still very hot.
  4. Measure out 3/4 of a cup of the hot milk and honey mix and stream it very slowly into your egg yolk bowl, whisking all the time. The goal is to temper the egg yolks without cooking them, so constant whisking and adding the hot milk slowly is key.
  5. Add the tempered yolks to the milk sauce pan, again pouring slowly and whisking the entire time. Once everything is together in your sauce pan, turn the flame to medium low and bring the temperature back to just below boiling. Do not let this boil.
  6. Whisk for 4 - 5 minutes while the ice cream base thickens slightly. This will not cook into a full custard, it will just thicken up enough to coat the back a spoon.
  7. Cool completely in the refrigerator for 4 hours, or overnight before churning. Freeze and churn following your ice cream maker's instructions. Share with others only if you have to.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 quart