When you think of lavender, you probably think of a hue of light purple or a beautiful, relaxing fragrance. But after you taste this decadently rich frozen custard ice cream, you’ll also think of lavender as a flavor. Quite possibly the most elegant, delicious ice cream you have ever eaten, this recipe is totally worth the effort.
The only somewhat unusual ingredient in this recipe is dried lavender blossoms. Lavender is so easy to grow. Plant next to a walkway or other sunny place where you will enjoy the fragrance as you pass. It will also do well in a large pot. Common lavender is a shrubby semi-evergreen which needs to be cut back every year. If you don’t grow your own lavender, see sources, below*.
Honey Lavender Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup mild honey (I always use a Virginia clover honey)
2 tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers
2 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
Bring cream, half-and-half, honey, and lavender just to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally,then remove pan from heat.
Let steep, covered, 30 minutes.
Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over moderate heat until hot.
Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl, then add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Pour into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170 to 175°F on thermometer, about 5 minutes (do not allow to boil).
Pour custard through sieve into cleaned bowl. You may need to push it through with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cool completely, stirring occasionally.
Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours.
Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
Delicious served with thin gingersnaps.
Cooks’ notes: • To cool custard quickly after straining, set bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stir until chilled.
• Custard can chill up to 1 day before freezing. • Ice cream keeps 1 week.
*Edible lavender flowers available at Penzeys (800-741-7787) and Kalustyan’s (800-352-3451)