September 27, 2009

Honey-Lavender Ice Cream

I taught a Girls Night Out cooking class last night that featured all recipes with lavender. Here was the menu:

Lavender Tangerine Mimosas
Garlicky Lavender-Curry Hummus with Baked Pita Chips
Spinach Salad with Baked Goat Cheese & Lavender-Lemon Vinaigrette
Lavender Crab Cakes with Creamy Honey-Mustard Sauce
Lavender Couscous with Artichoke Hearts & Pine Nuts
Lavender-Honey Ice Cream
Lavender Sugar Cookies

All recipes, except the cookies, came from The Lavender Cookbook by Sharon Shipley.  The crowd favorite was the ice cream (recipe below).

In a post from January, 2008, I admitted that I love eating lavender, thanks to my friend Sue, who introduced me to lavender "better butter" a few years ago. As I wrote in my Christmas Cookie post, if you've never eaten lavender-laced food, you must try it.
Lavender makes fragrant and tasty breadsdrinks, and desserts like cookiescakes, or custards. It goes particularly well with chocolate or green veggies. I like lavender mixed with melted butter then used as a dip for steamed artichokes and sprinkled on roasted asparagus or sauteed peas.

photo from Winding Brook Estate

According to What's Cooking AmericaFlowers and leaves can be used fresh, and both buds and stems can be used dried. Lavender is a member of the mint family and is close to rosemary, sage, and thyme. It is best used with fennel, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, and savory.
English lavender has the sweetest fragrance of all the lavenders and is the most commonly used in cooking. [...] Lavender has a sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes. The potency of the lavender flowers increases with drying. In cooking, use 1/3 the quantity of dried flowers to fresh. 
Note: Adding too much lavender to your recipe can be like eating perfume and will make your dish bitter. [...] A little goes a long way.

You can buy lavender from upscale spice shops like Penzey's or The Spice House.  I ordered a large container of dried lavender from Amazon, but when I searched there today, I didn't find any.  If you live in the St. Louis area, you can harvest your own lavender at Winding Brook Estate Farm in Eureka, Missouri. They are harvesting through October 25 and are open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10-4.

Lavender-Honey Ice Cream

photo from foodrambler

Makes about 4 cups

3/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon lavender buds
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or paste
10 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, honey, lavender, and 3/4 cup of the cream.  Heat, stirring often, until small bubbles start to foam around the edge. DO NOT BOIL. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks & sugar. Beat until the mixture is a lightly lemony yellow.

Slowly beat in the milk mixture.  Pour back into the saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Strain into a medium bowl.  Stir in the vanilla & remaining cream.  Chill before freezing in an ice cream machine.


Steph said...

This ice cream is PURE heaven. I thought the breeze picking up the subtle scent to drag by my nose was the best thing to come from lavender, and then I ate this ice cream paired with a lavender sugar cookie...I've found a new passion! Yum Yum Yummy!

The Chickenless Chick said...

So many uses for lavendar! I will have to check out this Sharon Shipley character. Thanks for sharing.

Amelia PS said...

how delicately feminine! this would make a great mothers day dessert.