Thursday, August 14, 2014

Honey-lavender ice cream


I'm having one of those flying weeks where I can hardly catch my breath. School started and we're busy again, immediately!, but I wanted to share the ice cream we made this past weekend. It was good! We used our own eggs and lavender from our yard to create a very posh ice cream for ourselves. The Bear had recently eaten honey-lavender ice cream in one of those high-end boutique-style ice cream shops, where everything is made on site with organic, locally-sourced ingredients. He loved it, and wanted to try making it at home. We hadn't made ice cream in awhile (a year or more, I think; our desserts are usually of the 40-calorie Fudgesicle variety). It was fun to do it again. Honey-lavender ice cream is indeed an exotic, luxurious treat. I wasn't sure how I felt about eating food made with lavender, but it was really interesting. A little perfume-ish, but not as much as I thought it would be. And I love honey in anything, so that was a nice component too. We started with a basic honey ice cream recipe. It might be an acquired taste, but give it a try! We felt a little fancy eating this ice cream.

You'll need:

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup mild honey
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers (for eating, "culinary lavender" is often suggested)
2 large eggs (we used 3 smaller ones from our hens)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Candy or instant-read thermometer

Combine cream, half-and-half, honey and lavender in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then cover the saucepan and leave to steep off heat for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve set over a large bowl to remove lavender bits.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs and stir in salt. Set aside. Pour cream mixture back into cleaned saucepan and heat until hot but not boiling. Pour one cup in a slow trickle into the egg mixture, stirring constantly (to temper the eggs). Then pour mixture into the saucepan, heating until mixture thickens and reaches 175 degrees on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Do not boil.

Strain custard over a clean bowl and let cool, stirring occasionally. When cool, cover the bowl and refrigerate until custard is cold, about three hours.

Process in ice cream maker, freeze until hard.


We used our own lavender for this recipe, as opposed to purchasing "culinary lavender," and I think it worked just fine. I frequently bring lavender inside to use around the house because it's pretty and it smells good. I often let it grow quite dry anyway, so I saved about ten stalks of lavender which had gone very dry and then just ran my fingertips down the stalks to remove the flowers. I left the flowers to dry on a piece of paper towel for a couple of days until they felt "crispy" to the touch. Then I crushed them a bit with my fingers just to break them up a little, and I had what I believe to be pretty similar to "culinary lavender" - organic, even.


I'd never cooked with lavender before. It wasn't difficult, though. I'd liken it to cooking with seeds or small grains. They were a little like caraway seeds, actually. The buds float on top of the liquid. The first heating step is interesting because you can watch the honey floating up as it melts. The scent of boiling honey is quite intense.



The custard-cooking stage is perhaps the trickiest because you want to make sure the eggs are beaten in really well. And you don't want to let the mixture boil. By now, everyone had caught a whiff of the boiling honey, and a scent they couldn't quite place (cooked lavender) and they crowded around. I had to be really vigilant about the temperature.



When the custard was cold, we moved the party outside. The ice cream maker is LOUD and there's a lot of ice involved, so the patio is a great choice. The kids asked to taste the ice cream salt and were each given a grain to try; he liked it and she spat it out.


After thirty minutes, it was churned and ready to freeze (though it could certainly have been eaten soft too). The flavor was pretty strong; I thought the honey and lavender were about equal, though I'd expected the lavender to be the dominant flavor. After freezing, the lavender seemed to back off, and the honey stood out more. That was interesting to me; I don't know exactly why the lavender would be tempered by freezing but I liked it. There was a hint of lavender, not a wallop of it. To me, lavender can have a medicinal taste but it was softer and quite pleasant here, especially after some time in the freezer. I liked it and I'd make it again. I'd also like to try using the honey ice cream base with some other flavors, perhaps spices or fruit. I loved doing this; it was fun and even better to make it with our own eggs and lavender.

38 comments:

  1. Love the recipe, Jennifer; will definitely be trying it! xxx

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  2. oooh exciting. I love homemade ice cream xxxx

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  3. That sounds really delicious, your recipe !
    I must admit, I would never have thought of using lavender in ice cream.... Here, you see it often used in "the fancier restaurants", as decoration on a plate, or in combination with lamb meat.
    And what is ice cream salt ?? I have never heard of it nor seen it in stores !

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  4. Yum! I think we need an ice cream maker. :)

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  5. That sounds delicious, thank you for sharing. It would make a great treat for when we have visitors.

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  6. Oh I'd love an ice-cream maker. Your ice cream looks delicious. Bee xx

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  7. That sounds delicious, and how wonderful to make it with your own eggs and lavender. I like the sound of honey ice cream with other flavours too. xx

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  8. Fancy indeed, it sounds delicious. I'm intrigued by the ice cream salt, I've never heard of such a thing. How lovely to make it with your own eggs and lavender. Bees next..? CJ xx

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  9. Hi Jennifer! Ooh I'd give that ice cream a try. I had gin and lavender ice cream once at a fancy dinner. It was good and not as much of a lavender hit as I was expecting (a good thing)! On a frozen dessert theme, how about green apple sorbet to use up some of those apples I saw in one of your previous posts?

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  10. Oh heavens does this sound AWESOME!!! It looks awesome too!!!! I once had basil ice cream which was fantastic! I am feeling the squeeze with school starting next week...I have to get used to waking up early again!!! I hope school was great for them! Nicole xo

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  11. Yum, Jennifer, this sounds really lovely. I enjoy the occasional lavender treat in food, usually at lavender farm tourist destinations. It makes a beautiful, if fragrant, treat. Our son makes icecream in this way and it is always superb.

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  12. It sounds yummy Jennifer save a bowl for me. :) x

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  13. What a lovely recipe, sounds delicious :)

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  14. Home-made ice cream is yummy at the best of times. Your recipe sounds delish! :o)

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  15. That sounds so yummy, and fun project for the whole family :-)
    Happy weekend, xx

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  16. Clever! Great recipe. Would love to be able to make homemade ice cream xo

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  17. Oh Wow! My mouth is positively watering right now, that looks delicious! Lovely images :)

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  18. What fun you must all have had!!! It must be very satisfying being able to make things like this with your very own eggs, you must have been even more excited because of that!!! Glad that you enjoyed it. xx

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  19. Very posh indeed! You'll have to do something with green tea next.... :D

    I love the sound of honey ice cream - we'll have to try that recipe.

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  20. It sounds delicious. Hope you have space this weekend to recoup from you busy week.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  21. What an interesting combination!!!! You guys are awesome!!!! Making your own ice-cream is really cool!!!! I have tried that combination only in tea but it must be quite nice in an ice-cream as well!!!!
    Have a fab weekend!!!!
    Love
    AMarie xxx
    AMarie

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  22. Wow, that is one big ice cream maker you have! I have made small batches of ice cream by shaking it in a bag full of ice and salt, that was fun (but rather tedious), your machine sounds more practical. Enjoy your weekend. Cx

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  23. I need an ice cream maker, it's the one kitchen appliance I don't have :) I love that you used the lavender that you grew. My kids started last week and it has been crazy at my house too :)

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  24. Now that sounds incredible!
    Wishing you a happy weekend
    love Jooles x x x

    P.S thank your for your sweet comment x

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  25. We've still got a couple of weeks before the routines begin again. The ice cream combination sounds absolutely delicious! I have used lavender in scones before but only a little because the flavour becomes very intense. I will need to buy an ice cream maker to experiment :-) xx

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  26. Oh my, that sounds heavenly! I wish we had an ice cream maker!

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  27. Hello!

    Wow, what a yummy post! I've just added you to my blog list, really like your blog, lovely photos! I like to find out more about your corner of the world!

    Feel free to visit me back on my little blog here: http://myfunkycrochet.blogspot.be/ (I'm still new to this!)

    Enjoy the summer!
    Ingrid x

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  28. This looks so yummy. I've never had food with lavender before but I'd definitely give this flavour a try if it's on offer. My husband makes a very simple but tasty lemon ice cream with lemon, cream and sugar, no eggs. x

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  29. We used to buy lavender ice cream and lavender fudge from the local lavender farm. Both were delicious and your ice cream looks even better than theirs! I also like to bake lavender shortbread biscuits and I'm thinking you might like those too.

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  30. Your ice cream sounds really yummy. That's something I would like to make more of this summer.

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  31. That's very fancy ice cream. I've never made my own ice cream.

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  32. I've used my own lavender for other recipes but not ice-cream. We had lavender ice-cream recently in Gdansk.

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  33. Good grief that ice cream looks so good! I love your ice cream maker- what awesome fun!

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  34. Oh wow, your ice cream recipe sounds amazing Jennifer... I'm going to have to pin that! x

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  35. This sounds so, so good - a really grown-up kind of ice cream. I can see both my kids not liking this flavour, which is fine by me!

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  36. Wow! It looks yummy and what an unusual combination. It's not one that I would have thought to try, but I will now. I am glad you are making use out of those eggs, Jennifer. I have always wanted an icecream maker, I think it would be lots of fun to try different flavours of ice cream. :)

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