Monday, May 28, 2012

Lavender Ice Cream

I fell in love with lavender ice cream during my last trip to Paris.  It's almost impossible to find in my area.  Supposedly, there's a shop in Hollywood that has it.  I don't get up there often, but I'll look for it next time I'm there.

One of my birthday gifts was a card for TJ Maxx.  I never shop there, but I spent a little time looking around.  They didn't have much that I wanted, and nothing that I needed.  However, in the food section was a bottle of dried culinary lavender blossoms.  Instantly, I thought of making ice cream.  Don't know what I'll get with the other $36, maybe coffee.  It isn't that I don't like their clothes, I just have a very difficult time finding anything that fits.  It's that gap you get in the back of pants.  I miss pants with tapered waists.  Heaven forbid any woman nowadays has curvy hips and a slim waist!  (I know, tmi)

When shopping for lavender, make sure you get culinary lavender.  That's different than potpourri lavender, even though they smell the same.  If you got it at Michaels, it probably isn't fit for consumption. Stick to the spice aisle.  The bottle should have nutritional information on it.  If you have a lavender plant at home, make sure it's one of the edible varieties before harvesting your own.  My lavender plant by the front door is an aromatic species, not a culinary one.

This recipe differs from others I researched because of the way I prepare the sugar.  It's the same way I make vanilla ice cream, and creates a highly aromatic, intense flavor with very little flavoring ingredient.  I also couldn't get it to turn lavender color.  Resorting to violet food coloring, the best I could manage was not yellow-cream.  It came out slightly bluish-cream, and I didn't want to overdo the color.  Just accept that it will look like vanilla if you use dried buds.

2 C whole milk
2 C heavy cream
1 C sugar
2 Tb dried lavender
4 egg yolks

1.  2 days ahead: combine sugar and lavender in a sealable container.  Shake a couple of times a day until ready to use.

2.  Stir together milk and cream in a medium saucepan.  Put sugar through a sieve to remove lavender and put lavender in the saucepan with the milk.  Beat together sugar and egg yolks and set aside.

3.  Over medium-low heat, bring milk to a low boil, stirring frequently to avoid scorching.  Pour some of the milk into the eggs and beat together to temper the eggs.  Introduce the egg to the milk and stir constantly until mixture thickens but does not boil.

4.  Strain cream to remove lavender and any clumps.  Line surface of custard with plastic wrap to avoid a skin forming.  Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

5.  Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.  Freeze until ready to serve.

Makes about 1 quart

Difficulty rating  :)

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