Halgrimson: Touch of lavender makes great ice cream dessertAlthough it has been many years since I’ve seen them, the image of lavender fields growing on the hillsides in Provençe, France, is still vivid in my mind. The heady aroma of lavender in bloom is never forgotten.
By: Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, INFORUM
Although it has been many years since I’ve seen them, the image of lavender fields growing on the hillsides in Provençe, France, is still vivid in my mind. The heady aroma of lavender in bloom is never forgotten.
My first experience of eating lavender came at Harronherb Farm in the early 1990s. Chef Hallie and her husband, Brian Harron, kept a bed-
and-breakfast, small restaurant and four-acre herb farm near Huot, Minn., north of Crookston.
After writing a story about their farm and restaurant, I put hundreds of miles on my car driving up to the restaurant for the glorious meals that Hallie prepared. During one of those meals, we had lavender ice cream for dessert.
At that time I had a friend who used lavender water as an aftershave, and eating the ice cream was like kissing him on the cheek. It was so lovely – both the ice cream and the kiss.
Lavender probably originated on the Arabian Peninsula and was used in ancient Greece and Rome primarily for bathing. The herb takes its name from the Latin “lavo,” which means “to wash.” It is a member of the mint family.
English lavender is best for cooking, as the French lavender used for perfumes and bath products is much stronger and often too pungent for cooking.
My lavender sits in our garden, where it gets lots of sun and sometimes returns from year to year if we have an early snow cover.
Harvest lavender flowers when they reach their fullest hue of the color violet. Gently rinse the blooms and dry them on paper towels. When free of moisture, store them in a tightly covered glass jar or plastic bag. The intensity of the flavor increases with drying.
If you do not have lavender in your garden, the blossoms are available in herb and spice shops and other specialty markets.
Lavender Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers (available in gourmet and herb stores)
4 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
Heat milk, honey, lavender, salt and 1 cup of the heavy cream in a sauce pan over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble and an instant-read thermometer reads 170-175 degrees.
Remove from heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes. Strain mixture into a medium bowl and discard lavender.
Return cream mixture to sauce pan over medium heat and warm to 170 degrees. Stir in sugar until dissolved.
Whip egg yolks in a small bowl then whisk in ½ of cream mixture. Whisk egg mixture back into sauce pan and return to medium heat.
Cook, stirring steadily until mixture coats the back of a spoon and mixture registers 170 to 175 degrees. Do not boil.
Strain mixture into a medium bowl and place in a large bowl half-filled with ice. Stir in remaining cream, add water to ice, and cool until ice melts. Remove inner bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least three hours until cold.
Freeze mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions then spoon into an airtight container and put in freezer to harden. Makes about 1 quart.
Readers can reach Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at email@example.com