Thursday, April 11, 2013

lavender honey ice cream

Have any of you seen It's Complicated?

There's something wonderful about Meryl Streep that we've all come to appreciate.
In this movie in particular, it's her adorable relationship with her children, her spunky personality, her amazing bakery, her incredible kitchen (and house), and her unbelievable recipes.

 Best of all, when she can't sleep, she makes lavender honey ice cream.

From the moment I saw this movie in college, I wanted to be her.
I wanted to spend a year learning to cook in Paris, I wanted to have that exact kitchen, and I wanted to own a bakery with freshly made chocolate croissants.
Granted, this isn't the first time I've wanted to steal the entire identity of a movie character - I seem to remember running around to different stores to try and buy clothes that matched Alexis Bledel's character, Lena, in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. 
I was grabbing things and holding them out to my best friend, frantically asking, "Is this Lena?"

In any case, I finally was able to channel some Meryl on Easter, when I finally made my very own lavender honey ice cream.

It was a long time coming, but I had finally grabbed some fresh lavender from Whole Foods and was ready to make my masterpiece.

I found the recipe on My Sweet Remedy, and the reason I stopped there was because her inspiration also came from It's Complicated, so I figured kindred spirits should stick together.

Lavender-honey ice cream:

- 2 cups whole milk (I used Half & Half)
- 1 1/2 cup cooking cream (I used Heavy Whipping Cream)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup mild honey
- 1/4 cup dried edible lavender flowers
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/8 teaspoon salt

I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker, and I would highly recommend investing in one if you don't already have one! It's so easy to mix together ingredients for a fun treat. Homemade ice cream is the best.
If you do have an ice cream maker, you'll just need to make sure your ice cream maker bowl is completely frozen (24 hours or more) before making this (we keep ours permanently in the freezer, so we never have to worry about it!)


1. Bring milk, cream, honey, and lavender just to a boil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat for 8-10 minutes, until mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, then remove pan from heat. Let steep, covered, for 30 minutes.
This is where I varied from the recipe - I tried a tiny bit after only steeping for 10 minutes, and it was already very very strong. I would recommend keeping the flavor light, and possibly even skipping the steeping step. But taste as you go and figure out your flavor level!

2. Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a bowl, and discard the lavender. Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat over moderate heat until it warms up again.

3. Whisk together egg yolks, sugar and salt until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Then add 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the eggs in a slow stream, whisking. Pour the egg mixture back into the remaining hot cream mixture in the saucepan, and cook it over moderately low heat, stirring constantly. Stir with a wooden spoon (if you have one) until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of it, about 5 minutes (do not let it boil!).

3. Pour custard through sieve into cleaned bowl and let cool.
I would highly recommend refrigerating the mixture for a few hours - it needs to be completely cooled down, even cold, before you put it in your ice cream maker!

4. Once cooled, pour the mixture into the ice cream maker bowl, and start the machine. Let the machine work for the instructed time (20-25 minutes).

5. Put the ice cream bowl in the freezer, covered, until cold.

6. Serve (perhaps drizzled in honey and lavender) and enjoy! :)

I would love to try another non-custard ice cream, with a much lighter flavor.
This turned out a bit strong for me (and my husband, as well) but the flavor combination is truly amazing. I would love to continue my journey with lavender by trying a few other recipes, including lavender lemonade, more lavender ice cream, lavender lattes, and more!

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