Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lavender Ice Cream

I have often heard people speak of using lavender in cooking.  Lavender cookies have been on my "try" list for a while, but when I saw the movie "It's Complicated" recently, I decided I needed to try lavender ice cream.  The main character owned a bakery and spent half the show making lovely, mouth-watering creations--one of which was lavender ice cream.  It sounded interesting.  Or maybe I just wished for it to be summer so badly that the thought of making any ice cream created visions of warm weather and blue skies.

And while it may be difficult to reconcile the idea of lavender being edible, as opposed to something you might find in soap, or lotion, it has a subtle smoothness that combines with the other flavors to create a soothing, tea-like quality that is oh-so-yummy.  

You will need:

2 cups heavy cream
4 cups whole milk
4 Tbs dried, edible lavender flowers (for locals, I found mine at Chuck's Produce and Street Market)
3/4 cup honey
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
juice of 1 lime (1-2 Tbs)
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 tsp salt

Heat the milk and cream in a pot over medium heat until very warm, but not boiling.  Turn off heat and add lavender.  Cover and let steep for 20-30 minutes.  Then strain out flowers and discard them.  

Return milk/cream to pot, add honey and heat on medium low until honey has dissolved.  Do not allow to boil.

Beat egg yolks, vanilla, lime juice, lime zest and salt until light creamy yellow.  While stirring, slowly add 1 cup of warm milk mixture to egg mixture.  When well mixed, add the milk/egg mixture back into pot, stirring.  

Heat on medium low until it thickens slightly (5 - 8 minutes).  It should lightly coat the back of your spoon.  Strain to remove any possible lumps that may have formed.

Cool in refrigerator for four hours, or until no longer warm.  

Freeze and churn according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

Yield: 2 quarts