Relaxed and Refined
I’m really putting my lavender plants to work already this summer. First a lavender-infused vinegar, then a bubbly lavender lemonade, and now lavender scented ice cream! I’m running to catch up to the bandwagon here, flagging it down like a speeding city bus. Many folks have long been touting how sublime the marriage of lavender and cream is. But I hadn’t bought into it until this weekend.
Last fall I tried an ice cream recipe that called for dried lavender leaves. But you never got to hear about that recipe since it was so medicinal tasting that I never bothered to post it to the blog. After the success of the lemon honey ice cream last month, I got up the gumption to give the lavender concept another try.
This time I found a recipe that called for fresh flowers, not the dried leaves, and hoped a more floral scent would be imparted than the last batch. But I was a little hesitant when I saw the rest of the ingredient list. No eggs. It’s hard to get a rich creamy ice cream without a custard base. I mulled it over and decided it was worth a shot. Since there are no eggs, this recipe was bound to be far easier than some out there so it wouldn’t be any great loss if it was just another flop.
Ladies and gentlemen, it was flop-less. In fact, it was the anti-flop! This ice cream is superbly rich and creamy, with a lighter-than-air floral flavor that co-mingles perfectly with the sweetness of the vanilla. Even with the use of one percent milk and some sugar substitute, it stood up to even some of the best Italian gelatos I’d sampled on the streets of Florence back in the day.
Adding to my delight, even with the lack of eggs that usually help to stabilize the creaminess for longer-lasting ice cream, the next day the scoops were just as smooth and rich. I should know since I made a point to go relax on the deck several times over the weekend, ice cream dish in hand.
It was, most definitely, sublime.
Fresh Lavender Ice Cream
Adapted from happyvalleylavender.com
1 1/4 C. whole milk (1% worked well for me too)
1/2 C. fresh lavender florets, washed and dried
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 C. vanilla sugar (regular granulated sugar is fine too)
1/4 C. Splenda or other sugar substitute
pinch of salt
2 C. heavy cream
Gently heat milk, lavender and the vanilla bean until warm, but not boiling. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the milk into a bowl and stire in the salt, sugar and Splenda while still warm. Stir in the cream and chill the mixture for at least 2 hours until cold.
Churn chilled mixture in an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s directions (usually about 20-30 minutes). Just before the ice cream finishes churning, toss in a few fresh lavender buds.
(makes about 1 quart)