Have you ever seen the movie It’s Complicated with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin? While watching it a few weeks ago, the movie characters talked about the deliciousness of the honey lavender ice cream Streep’s character, a restaurant owner, had made. That got me thinking about the package of lavender I had purchased last summer while hubby and I visited North Shore Market in Columbus, Ohio. I hadn’t made anything with it yet, and after hearing the movie characters rave about the ice cream, I just had to try it.
Let me tell ya, this is one funky-flavored ice cream. I’m not sure if the lavender creates the funkiness or whether it’s the quality of the honey I used or both. I think a better-quality honey, less lavender, and less steep time with the lavender would make it much tastier (a.k.a. less intensely flowery tasting).
Although it has a funky quality, the taste has grown on me, so I’ve been eating it here and there. Mind you, this one doesn’t take the willpower to not scarf it all down in one sitting like the espresso or the butter pecan or the dark chocolate peanut butter or the espresso fudge ripple ice creams I’ve made. However, it is fun to experiment and break out of making my favorite flavors all the time.
Honey Lavender Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 2/3 cup mild honey (reviewers say to use 1/3 cup wildflower honey)
- 2 tbsp. dried, edible lavender flowers (reviewers say to try 1 1/2 tbsp.)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- Prepare a large bowl with ice and water, and have ready another bowl that will fit into this one to cool the ice cream custard.
- Bring cream, half-and-half, honey, and lavender just to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then remove pan from heat. Let steep, covered, for 30 minutes (reviewers say to steep for 15 minutes).
- Pour custard base through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the lavender.
- Return mixture to a clean saucepan; heat over moderate heat until hot.
- Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl; add 1 cup of the hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking.
- Pour back into remaining hot cream mixture in the saucepan; cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon (if using a thermometer, it should register 170-175 degrees F). This should take about 5 minutes. Do not let it boil or you will have scrambled eggs in the mixture.
- Pour custard through a sieve into a clean bowl. Set this bowl into the water/ice bath to cool it completely; stir occasionally.
- Chill, covered, until cold–at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.
- Freeze custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Transfer ice cream to an airtight container; store in freezer to harden.
- Consider serving with strawberries or raspberries to jazz it up a bit. Or serve with mild desserts, like almond cake or shortbread cookies.
SOURCE: adapted from Epicurious.com