I have really got to think of a catchier name for this stuff. Any suggestions?
I’ve been sort of consumed with the idea of a food application for lavender ever since I realized that people really DID eat it. And I just happen to live in an area known for growing it, so the farmer’s market is full of it. I got this bunch the size of my admittedly impressive skull for all of three dollars the other week and I’ve just been put-putting around trying to decide what to do with it. I’ve come across far more esoteric applications for it, but this seemed a safer bet. Something sweet, something with other flavors to balance it. While I have been known to shove a flower into my mouth here and there, I didn’t think anyone else would be interested.
The general consensus was “HIT!”, with people who weren’t made aware of the lavender just saying there was something really interesting they couldn’t place, and sort of an “Ahhh!” when I told them. I was initially concerned the lavender would be a little overpowering, but it really mellowed. Next batch I think I’m going to come up with some sort of combination involving olive oil…
Lavender Double Vanilla Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate and Pecans
(From David Lebovitz’s article “Scooped!” in Fine Cooking June/July 2009)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- 2 Tbs dried lavender
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped. (Remember to use the split bean and scraped seeds.)
- 2 tsp. real vanilla extract
- 4 Tbs dark chocolate, chopped
- 4 Tbs toasted pecans, chopped
The first step is making your custard, which I was a little terrified of at first. It is genuinely labor-intensive, but isn’t that difficult.
In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup of cream with your milk, sugar and a tiny pinch of salt. Warm it over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. When the sugar is melted and small bubbles start to form around the edges, add your lavender and vanilla bean/seeds. Cover and remove from heat. Let that sit for at least an hour, checking the strength of the flavor. Like it? Go ahead on with the rest of the process. Not a fan yet? Let it sit a while longer.
Start your ice bath. Fill a large bowl with several inches of water and ice. Set a smaller metal bowl into the ice water, then pouring that last cup of cream into the smaller bowl. Get out your strainer and set it next to it. Whisk your egg yolks in a separate medium bowl.
Go ahead and re-warm your cream mix here, just for a minute or two. With a steady hand, pour half of the warm cream into your egg yolks. Take care to whisk constantly or you’ll end up with curdled yolks. Pour that egg mixture back into your saucepan now, cooking it over low heat. Stir this thing like your life depends on it, not frantically but thoroughly. Scrape the bottom with your spoon while you stir. Do not overheat it, DO NOT boil it, just heat it gently and keep it moving until thick, 4 to 8 minutes. Strain it immediately into your cold cream. Press the bits of lavender and vanilla into the strainer with the back of a spoon to get all of that flavor out. Cool your custard by stirring it over your ice bath, once below 70 degrees or so, add the vanilla extract.
Place your custard in the fridge for a few hours, until it’s completely chilled. Then pour it into your ice cream maker, adding the chocolate and nuts as it churns. Share it with your friends and neighbors, or don’t. I was sorely tempted to keep it for myself!
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