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July 6th, 2012

Lavender

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.

This dessert deserves to be eaten with a vintage silver spoon.

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*.

a small portion of this year's harvest

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)

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