Sunday, August 4, 2013

Honey lavender ice cream


I've spoken ad nauseum about our CSA, Dominion Harvest. I love this subscription because I receive boxes of produce once every two weeks, and it always includes locally made cheese and farm fresh eggs. Plus, they deliver to my house, and I don't have to pay for weeks when I am on vacation. On top of all that, they also email recipes that feature the produce that you receive. Are you sold yet?

One of our CSA boxes included a bunch of fresh lavender. I had never thought about using lavender in cooking until I attended a cooking class for my friend Katie's birthday party. We baked a very memorable buttermilk lavender cake for the class, and I have yet to recreate it at home (I'll be sure to share the recipe once I finally bake it). I wasn't quite sure what to do with the lavender but was thrilled to see that a honey lavender ice cream was included in that week's recipes.

The ice cream base was only slight more high maintenance than the ice creams I've made previously. It requires the custard to steep for half an hour with the dried lavender. Unfortunately, both my husband and I thought that the ice cream was too lavender-y. He took one bite and immediately spit it out.

Unless you are a super fan of lavender (and I am not exaggerating one bit... you have to be SUPER FAN), then please follow the directions as-is. Otherwise, I'd recommend cutting back on the lavender significantly (to perhaps 1 tsp) and only steeping for 10 minutes or not steep at all. The level of sweetness is perfect though, but unfortunately, that is all that is perfect about the recipe below. My former manager also received a bunch of lavender in her CSA delivery, and she tried the ice cream recipe like I did. She and her husband both also thought that the ice cream had too much lavender flavor, so I'm not trying to pull your leg. Please take my notes into consideration if you decide to make this so your tastebuds aren't overwhelmed with the fragrant floral taste.

Honey lavender ice cream
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup half-and-half (I subbed with 1 cup of heavy cream)
  • 2/3 cup mild honey
  • 2 TBSP dried edible lavender flowers (you can find these at Penzey's but you have to ask them at the cash register; they are not displayed in-store)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Directions
In a medium-sized heavy saucepan set over medium heat, mix the cream, half-and-half, honey, and lavender and allow it to come to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the stove and cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Allow the mixture to rest, covered, for at least 30 minutes. 

Strain the mixture through a sieve or strainer and discard the lavender.

Heat the mixture in a clean medium-sized heavy saucepan over medium heat.

In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs and the salt. Temper the egg mixture by slowly adding the warm heavy cream mixture into the eggs and whisking them together. You'll want to add about 1 cup of the heavy cream mixture into the eggs. Once you've added about 1 cup of cream into the egg mixture, pour the egg/cream mixture back into your saucepan and whisk together to combine. Keep whisking until the temperature reaches about 170°F to 175°F on a thermometer. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon or a spatula. It is important to NOT let the custard boil!

Turn off the stove, remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the custard through a fine-meshed sieve or strainer into a clean, large bowl. 

Allow the custard to cool before covering and transferring to the refrigerator. Chill the custard in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to overnight (preferred).

Once the custard has properly cooled, transfer to your ice cream maker and churn according to your manufacturer's directions.

Finally, transfer the ice cream into freezer-proof containers and freeze.  If you prefer soft-serve consistency, you can eat the ice cream as soon as it is done churning in your ice cream maker.

Yield: About 1 quart

Source: Uncited emailed recipe from Dominion Harvest; original source appears to be Epicurious.com

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