Lavender’s Blue…

12 08 2010

Can't you just smell it?

Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, mint is so green
Together they, dilly dilly, make good ice cream.

What of chocolate, dilly dilly, is there no place?
Swirled through in chips, dilly dilly, get in my face.

Looks can be deceiving

I’ve been wanting to make this ice cream for over a year.  I wish I could say I came up with it while I was frolicking in a field of lavender in Provence, but the truth is much more banal.  My post-shower routine, especially in the summer, involves a cooling lavender-scented foot cream, which is lovely after a long, hot day on my feet.  Combine that with the minty-fresh post-toothbrushing-session breath, and it occurred to me one day how not-unlike each other lavender and mint really are.  I thought about different dessert applications for this revelation, and naturally, ice cream sprang to mind. 

At the time, I had neither an ice cream maker nor a good source of lavender flowers.  But times have changed.  I found some fragrant organic lavender in the Indian spice shop across the street, and almost immediately upon returning home whipped up a batch of my new favorite summer ice cream.  Mint chip has always been a favorite flavor of mine, but the subtle hint of lavender turns a childhood favorite into something far more sophisticated, and possibly even more delicious.

It almost feels like I’ve been doing you a disservice by keeping this one under my hat for so long.  So here you go:

Lavender-Mint Chip Ice Cream

This is one of those dessert experiments that came out even better than I expected.  The calming lavender, the invigorating mint, the cooling cream, and the crunchy little bits of chocolate combine to make a truly divine ice cream that needs no adornment.

1½ c. / 375 ml milk
1½ c. / 375 ml cream
¾ c. / 5¼ oz. / 150 g sugar
Pinch of salt
¾ c. / 1 oz. / 25 g fresh mint, leaves and stems
3 Tbsp. / 8 g dried lavender flowers
5 egg yolks
4½ oz. / 125 g bittersweet chocolate (I used a 70% from the Caribbean)

  1. Combine the milk, sugar, salt, mint, lavender, and ½ c. / 125 ml of the cream in a medium saucepan.  Bring up to a simmer, then cover and steep for about an hour.
  2. While you’re waiting, whisk the egg yolks lightly in a heatproof bowl and pour the remaining 1 c. / 250 ml cream into another bowl.
  3. Strain the lavender-mint infusion.  Discard the solids, then return the liquid to the saucepan.  Heat to a simmer once more.  Reduce the heat, and temper in the egg yolks: pour some of the hot liquid into the egg yolks, whisking to make sure it doesn’t curdle.  Pour the yolks, now tempered (i.e. used to the temperature of the hot milk) back into the saucepan and cook the custard over low heat until it thickens slightly.  This will occur at a temperature between 175 and 185F / 80 and 85 C.  Strain the custard into the bowl with the cream and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.
  4. Churn the ice cream in an ice cream machine, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  While it’s churning, melt the chocolate and keep it warm, but not too hot.
  5. When you take the ice cream out of the machine, layer it into a container, drizzling the melted chocolate over each layer, and stirring to break it up into melt-in-your-mouth little bits.  (When the Italians do this, they call it stracciatella.)  Keep layering until all the ice cream and chocolate are in the container.  Freeze until firm before serving.

Makes about 1 quart / 1 liter.

On this day in 2008: A Few Little Bites… (Bits and pieces about our trip to Bulgaria.)

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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10 responses

12 08 2010
Ryan

Ooh, this looks awesome, and the heat in Texas is really ratcheting up. Maybe some of this ice cream will help beat the heat.

Thanks!

12 08 2010
Wendy

Please be our guest for dinner at our somewhat local organic lavender farm soon. :-)

12 08 2010
hungry dog

Wow, this sounds insanely good. I love mint chip ice cream, and I agree that mint and lavender would be a perfect, sophisticated upgrade. I wish I had a bowl of this right now :)

12 08 2010
Mandy

Tu m’as inspirée! It looks delicious and I can’t wait to give this a try.

13 08 2010
Hannah

I am SO IN. I’ve never liked lavendar as an aroma, because I think it smells like old ladies, but I love it in chocolate. And, therefore, I’m sure, in ice cream. Sometimes I think you’re very mean for not having made me frozen yogurt and ice cream when I was in Paris. Shame on you. :P

P.S. I love the way you segued from washing your feet to ice cream. GOLD.

13 08 2010
croquecamille

Ryan – I gained a new appreciation for the cooling properties of ice cream when I lived in Texas.

Mom – With pleasure!

hungry dog – You can! That’s why I gave you the recipe. ;)

Mandy – Merci beaucoup! I hope you do.

Hannah – If my life hadn’t been in such apartment-hunting chaos at the time, I would have loved to have invited you over for a meal. You’ll just have to come back, and I will tailor-make ice cream with all your favorite flavors. Peanut butter-salted caramel, pistachio chocolate chip, or I’ll just make this one again, because it’s awesome.

13 08 2010
Jessica

I have made lavender ice cream before, but this takes it to a whole new level. I am now craving mint chip and lavender ice cream, but I only have an hour before I have to leave the apartment for classes. There is no time! Such cruelty to inspire such powerful cravings with no hope of immediate fulfillment!

14 08 2010
Hannah

That sounds like a mighty good plan to me. Making all three would be even better, because I always like tasting ice cream, then I get bored halfway through. Novelty is the spice of life! ;)

14 08 2010
Grapefruit

Tu m’as inspiree, moi aussi. I would have never thought of this combination of flavors.
And thanks for sharing the source for lavender: I hunted high and low and couldn’t find it anywhere in Paris when I was there in June. I can’t get it where I live either, so I had really wanted to take some back with me!
I remember asking around at a flower shop near Bastille and they told me to buy some fresh lavender (or steal it off a garden) and hang it upside down to dry for two weeks :-O

16 08 2010
croquecamille

Jessica – I’m sorry. I hope you had a chance to play with ice cream over the weekend! :)

Hannah – If I have to make three kinds of ice cream, so be it.

Grapefruit – Heh. I found fresh lavender one time, in a bundle of herbes de Provence. It was heavenly. I’ve looked for it again and again, to no avail. Glad I can help!




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