|I need to make this again, it's so freakin' good - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
So I might break into song now and then, grumbling over why can't the English learn how to speak, or perhaps how the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain, but no worries, my singing will of course be dubbed by the beautiful voice of Marni Nixon, so all will be well. But this ice cream was so wouldn't-it-be-loverly, I just had to share it with an OMG a Recipe post. And if you didn't get any of those My Fair Lady references, take a break from your reality TV world and watch a classic film now and then that hasn't been remade, reduxed or rebooted.
There's no Pygmalion-esque transformation needed for fresh lavender. It's right-purdy all on its own and a huge bundle of freshly picked lavender can be such a windfall for cooking and household uses. A few days laying flat and separated should give fresh lavender a proper dry. The tricksy-Hobbit deed of separating the fragrant little purple blooms from the tough stem is a bit of a conundrum, but leave it to Green Thumb Goddess, blogger South Sound Garden, to not only provide the lavender -- of which I'm very thankful for -- but the suggestion to use the little metal loop of a wooden clothespin to act as a tool to strip the blooms cleanly from the stalk. Genius! Even more thankful for that tip, as I think I would have rubbed off all the skin on my fingers trying to pull the blooms off with my bare hands, plus it made quick work of the bundle. Clothespins to the rescue, yet again.
Lavender is one of those tricky ingredients where a liberal hand means whatever you're making will taste like soap and that's not good. So tread lightly, heavy-handed seasoners! The best way to control the lavender taste in ice cream is to first make a simple syrup infused with the dried lavender. It also gives you a chance to strain out the little bits, so all you have is a sweet, floral syrup that you can add to other things like cocktails or plain seltzer for a fragrant homemade soda. I say "you can use it in other things" because you will have extra, so get an old timey lavender soda shoppe in the works and start growing out that old timey moustache with the curly edges, if you're able. It's fetching. No, really, it is.
Lavender Simple Syrup
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/4 cup dried lavender buds
Bring water to a simmer, add sugar and melt down. Let liquid reduce for a few minutes and add in lavender towards the end. Remove from heat and let mixture steep until syrup cools before straining lavender from liquid. Store in an airtight jar.
Loverly Lemon Lavender Ice Cream
3 cups heavy cream (or half and half)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup lavender simple syrup
4 whole eggs at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 rind of a whole lemon
Bring the cream to a low simmer and stir in the sugar. Stir until fully melted. Add the lemon rind to let the citrus flavor steep in the cream. Check the temperature of the liquid to make sure it's at 170-180 degrees before adding the eggs -- temper the eggs, by adding a little of the hot liquid to the eggs and warming them before adding them into the cream mixture. Whisk vigorously as the eggs are incorporated, to ensure they don't clump. Double check the temperature of the custard to make sure it's 180 degrees for food safe reasons and then turn off the heat. Whisk in the lavender simple syrup and vanilla extract while the mixture is still warm. Strain the custard into a separate bowl to remove any clumps and the lemon rind, and let it chill in the refrigerator before churning it in your ice cream maker.
As you're churning the ice cream, it's pretty to add a few little sprinkles of lavender buds for color, but it's fine to leave it out, as the texture can be a little chewy. The lightly sweet lemon flavor is nice with the fragrant lavender, and it's even nicer with some buttery shortbread -- the ones in the photos were from Wasabi Mom!
|Fragrant sweet dreams of summer! - Photos by Wasabi Prime|