Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Honey lavender ice cream

honey lavender ice cream

I missed the bluebonnets this year. This makes me sad as I understand it was a banner year for our state flower. But I do have a few trips to Texas planned this summer, so I hope to see some color, such as the fields of lavender found in the Hill Country this time of year. Yep, in that part of Texas as bluebonnets are to spring, lavender is to summer. And while nothing can compare to a blanket of wildflowers, I’d say that the lavender is still pretty stunning.

Lavender is now in season, and if you were to take a drive through the Hill Country you might see row upon row of this light purple flower. But lavender hasn’t always grown in Texas.



Many years ago, Texan photographer Robb Kendrick was on assignment in the Provence region in France. While there, he was struck by the temporal and geographic similarities between the Hill Country and the Provence. He was also struck by the beauty of the lavender. When he and his wife returned to Texas they started the first commercial lavender farm outside Blanco, which spawned a new industry in the Hill Country.

For most of my life, my experience with lavender has been as a pleasant, soothing scent—something found in soaps or lotions. But when someone shared with me some Hill Country lavender honey a few years ago, I realized its potential for edible applications as well.

Sure, it has a floral flavor but it there are also hints of pine, similar to rosemary but not quite as intense. It pairs well with mustard, for a savory sauce. It also makes a nice crust on pork. But I find that my favorite way to use it is in sweets.

Honey lavender ice cream is a cool, refreshing way to experience the flavor of lavender, especially as both the lavender and the honey give it a floral flavor. I like to add some lemon juice as its brightness balances out some of honey’s richness.

honey lavender ice cream

Dried Lavender can be found at many farmers markets. You can also get it through Penzey’s and other specialty spice markets. In New York, I found mine at Westside Market. But if you can’t find lavender, don’t fret—you can substitute sage or rosemary.

Have you ever cooked with lavender? What do you make?

Honey lavender ice cream
Ingredients:
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers
1/2 cup light honey
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:
Cook the half-and-half and cream on medium heat until warm, do not let it come to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the lavender to the pot, cover and let steep for half an hour.

After flowers have steeped, strain the liquid and discard the flowers. Add to the liquid the honey and heat on medium low until honey has dissolved. Again, do not let liquid come to a boil!

Beat the egg yolks with the vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt. Stir into the eggs 1/2 cup of the warm liquid and then add eggs to the pot.

Heat this on medium low for five minutes or until it gets slightly thick. You’ll know it’s ready when it coats the back of your spoon. Cool in the refrigerator for four hours.

Freeze and churn according to your ice-cream maker’s instructions.

Yield: 1 quart

Note: If you taste the custard before churning and find it’s not sweet enough for you, I suggest sweetening it more with sugar rather then honey as honey’s strong flavor can overpower the lavender.

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62 comments:

Sursi said...

I haven't cooked alot with lavender but I've got some in my pantry. I'm going to try adding it to a blueberry clafouti. And I CAN'T WAIT for this weekend--I'm going to Blanco's lavender festival. Last time I had a blueberry lavender slush (during one of the hottest days EVER). I've been thinking about it every day since.

Adrienne said...

Oooh, that looks good! I've eaten lavender in deserts before, but I'm not growing any this year. I'm intrigued by your suggestion to sub sage, because my plant is going insane. I've never noticed that it's floral enough for dessert, but now my curiosity is piqued. Honey sage ice cream. Yeah, I like the sound of it.

eonyc said...

I was just at a lavender farm last month in Oklahoma! I tried lavender lemonade (little too much lavender for me) and sugar cookies made with lavender. I'm SO making those cookies later this month for myself.. I mean.. the blog!

LKP @ www.lkpheartsfood.com

DessertForTwo said...

Anytime you write about the Hill Country, you pull my heart strings. I'm going on 4 years here in California and can't decide if I should move back to Texas. How do you do with it?
Anyway, I pair lavendar with apricots in a quick tart. I make a simple syrup with honey and infuse it with lavendar, brush on apricots in a shortbread tart shell and bake. It's divine. Have a good day! :)

Natanya @ Fete & Feast said...

This Blanco Lavender Festival is coming up shortly and I think we'll find our way down there before all is said and done. I love lavender and honey together, and just last weekend I made a peach cobbler with Texas peaches, lavender, and honey that was just lovely:

http://feteandfeast.com/2010/06/01/a-southern-peach-cobbler-recipe-with-a-lavender-and-vanilla-twist/

And now, I think there must be lavender honey ice cream on the menu this weekend.

Phoo-D said...

This sounds wonderful. I'm embarrassed to admit just how long my lavender has languished in the back of the spice cupboard. I need to pull it out!

Lexi said...

Honey lavender ice cream is one of the greatest things in the world. My favorite is from Il Laboratorio del Gelato, but I've made my own, too. I might have to try your recipe--mine was much less complex, no lemon or vanilla.
I've also done lavender muffins (Monica Bidhe's recipe) and lavender shortbread (variation on a smitten kitchen recipe). Have yet to do much savory cooking with it, though.

Paula said...

so new tastes for me and so yummy!

Melissa said...

I can't wait to check out our local lavender farm in Wimberley. I've made lavender shortbread cookies, but recently I made these cupcakes:

http://bakingfortheboys.blogspot.com/2010/04/go-texan-grapefruit-honey-and-lavender.html

Celeste said...

I have not cooked with lavender personally, but I once had a creme brulee that was infused with lavender. It cut the richness nicely. I think lavender may just pair well with cream.

I have also seen it used in an outer coating on a roast lamb dish in a book I have. That seems like a good rustic use for something so aromatic.

I always love your photos for the use of your pottery and silver pieces; I look forward to seeing the repetition of them because it really enhances the feel of your offerings being home cooking.

lisa said...

I have a big, potted lavender plant, and I rarely use it in cooking. I've thought about lavender shortbread cookies and lavender caramel but haven't tried either yet. Sounds pretty fantastic in ice cream. This is a must try!

Anna said...

I can't remember ever eating something made with lavender. Soudns interesting! This wasn't a great year for wildflowers in Dallas. Too much snow and/or rain, maybe? There were few and they faded fast.

-Your Friendly Neighborhood Dentonista said...

You're coming to Texas? can I suggest you check out ht efood to be found in and around Denton?
http://bestofdenton.blogspot.com/search/label/_Eat%20It

Weekend Cowgirl said...

How very interesting. I love lavender so would love to try this! I have used flowers in soups years ago, but nothing like this!

Kelly @ EvilShenanigans said...

Dallas had a TON of bluebonnets this year and they were vibrant! Too bad you did miss them, but there will be other Springs. :) I love lavender for cooking, and my very favorite way to enjoy it is in a Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookie! I think, perhaps, your ice cream would be lovely to dip those cookies in ... I'm just sayin'!

My Kitchen in the Rockies said...

This is a recipe for me. I love Lavender in desserts, delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Ellen W said...

A friend of mine has made lavender shortbread and fudge made from TX lavender. I am going to try to grow some here in Montana as it is my favorite scent.

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

I had lavender ice cream in Paris and it haunts me to this day. It is just as you said - cool and refreshing. Just summer through and through. I am so glad you posted this so I can make it when I get back to TX and eat it by the pool! And I'll blog about it of course:)

Graygrrrl said...

Yum! I made the most amazing Lavender Pound Cake the other day. It's citrusy with a mild floral taste people can't recognize. Super yummy!

KrnMackenzie said...

At the holidays I make batches of honey lavendar biscotti. It goes so well with tea and just brings a different, special touch vs. the chocolate/nut combos.

I am so glad you posted this - if it is in your upcoming cookbook, I'll buy a copy just for this recipe! I had this at a restaurant in Denver about 10 years ago and haven't been able to find another version or recreate it. My ice cream maker broke two years ago, I may have to buy one now!
thank you!

Mary B. said...

Ooooh, lavender with honey sounds nice! I make lavender sugar (mix lavender with sugar and let sit for a few weeks) and use it to make lavender sugar cookies a lot. The ladies (not so much the fellas) in my office love 'em. I don't remove the flowers before I make the cookies either. They're like little flavor bombs. :)

Queen of Cuisine said...

I have a friend who just loves lavender, I can't wait to make this for her! Sounds amazing....

Mel said...

I butter up a turkey or chicken and season it with lavender under the skin . Roast as you like and it is amazing. turkey is my preferred meat.

wovensunshine said...

I make chocolate chip lavender spearmint cookies. I love baking with lavender!

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

You just made one of my FAVORITE ice creams. The floral and sweet honey combination is heaven on a spoon! Thank you for sharing!

Lora said...

I love lavender and honey. the combo in ice cream - divine! Great recipe. Thanks!

Becky T. Lane said...

La Madeleine restaurants used to serve a lavender creme brule that was to die for, and my friend Sibby Barret, who has the Onion Creek Kitchens cooking school near Blanco, sometimes does an entire feast based on lavender. I would love to know where you got your lavender honey. Ever since I read about it in "The Unlikely Lavender Queen" (written by Rob Kendrik's wife) I've been looking for it, but with no luck. Sibby sells her own version of Herbs de Provence, which has a bit of lavender in it I believe.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Sursi--Blueberry lavender slush? I must have one of those! Have fun at the lavender festival!

Adrienne--Let me know how it turns out for you!

Eonyc--Can't wait to read about those cookies!

DessertforTwo--I visit a lot. And I love the sound of it paired with apricots.

Natanya--If it's this weekend, I might have to figure out a way to go. Hmmmm...

Phoo-D--Well, then--it's time to pull your lavender out of the cupboard and put it to work!

Lexi--It's been too long since I've been to Il Laboratorio Del Gelato--they always have the best, most perfectly balanced flavors.

Paula--Enjoy!

Melissa--Love those cupcakes!

Celeste--I think it pairs well with cream, too. And I bet it's terrific with lamb!

Lisa--Oh, yes, lavender caramel sounds divine!

Anna--You should try it sometime, it's a nice surprise!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Dentonista--I definitely plan on visiting Denton at some point this year!

Weekend Cowgirl--I love squash blossom soup!

Kelly--The two together would make quite an ice cream sandwich!

My Kitchen in the Rockies--You're very welcome!

Ellen W--Fudge? That sounds wonderful!

Miss Meat and Potatoes--It would be perfect by the pool!

Graygrrrl--That sounds wonderful!

KmMackenzie--Lavender does go well with tea.

Mary B--I'll have to making the sugar.

Queen of Cuisine--Hope your friend enjoys it!

Mel--Turkey? I'll have to try that at Thanksgiving!

Wovensunshine--I love chocolate with lavender. I once had a lavender dark chocolate sea salt bar--it was heavenly.

Lisa--You're very welcome!

Lora--The two do go together very well, don't they.

Becky--A friend had the honey and I'm not sure where she got it--but I'm pretty sure it was one of the Hill Country farms.

heather @ chiknpastry said...

that ice cream sounds heavenly! i bought some various honeys from seattle a couple of months ago and haven't used them much, but i think one was lavendar.

i did make some lavendar butter once to serve with breakfast scones, and it was excellent!

Meredith said...

I love cooking with lavender. But probably the way I use it most often is in the summer when I make fruit salad. I crush up a bit of dried lavender and mix it in. It seems to go with all kinds of fruit and adds a nice subtle perfume.

Marjorie said...

Lisa, Your recipe sounds divine. I am now living in the Hill Country and not far from the Lavender Farm. I guess we will head out that way this weekend for fresh lavender. I will be making your ice cream recipe ASAP. The bluebonnets were amazing this year. It is beautiful here. We had a terrible storm 2 days ago it caused so much devastation. We were spared, but so many people are trying to clean up after its path of destruction. One thing I know, I will not live close to the banks of the Guadalupe. I will admire from a distance.

Kathryn said...

Oh, Lisa, you do my heart good! I am new to your site, by way of searching for other Texans not living in Texas. I so miss the cooking, among a million other things. Lately it's fried okra. Yah, in every fast food place in the South but unheard of here.
Thanks for your site/insight into the flavors of home!
kat
kathryn-atexanoutofwater.blogspot.com

emmylou + miller said...

I've been dying to make some of this ever since it was mentioned in "It's Complicated!" Thanks for the recipe, I'll make it soon.

Also, I'm making your blueberry fried pies tomorrow for the England vs. USA World Cup match- my contribution of all-American fare. Can't wait to taste them.

Thanks so much for all the great recipes, I can't wait to get a copy of your cookbook!
Becca

Bob said...

I've cooked with Lavender a couple of times - a rabbit dish in a lavender/mustard sauce which was fantastic and a dessert I can't quite remember (possibly a panna cotta of some kind).

The ice-cream looks great. Really dig your blog :)

LOJO said...

I miss the lavender fields back home...it's why I have a an entire side of my house planted in them up here.....

Sarah said...

I make a lavender-honey caramel with lavender infused sea salt sprinkled on the top...it's amazing. Lavender pairs really well with honey.

The lavender roasted chicken sounds amazing! I'm going to have to try that!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

I am still new to lavender as a culinary spice, but I love it! I've infused it in honey before to top berries and cream. I'd love this ice cream, and I still want to try using it on roasted chicken!

Jen McD said...

I love cooking with lavendar, though I do think it's an aquired taste. I have a lot of friends who think it tastes like cleaning products.

I love to marinate a lamb shoulder in a lavendar and balsamic marinade and then grill it over a charcoal grill. Make a balsamic lavendar reduction to top. Excellent!!

As for the ice cream, I wonder if I could use blue agave nectar, which is my new favorite sweetener. Akin to honey, but yummier I think.

brooke said...

I make lavender and sugar marcona almonds. So good.....

Lara said...

It was a banner year for bluebonnets here, too bad I never made it out with the camera.

Lavender ice cream sounds divine, thanks for sharing.

Shelley said...

I can't believe I just found this blog! I'm Texas-homesick too (click and you'll see exactly how much).

What a beautiful story about the lavendar.

Linsey M. said...

Oh the bluebonnets were awesome this year. We drove from New Braunfels to Houston over spring break and the highway was covered with them and Indian Paintbrushes too. I was in such awe that I completely forgot to get my camera out!

As for Lavender, I cook quite frequently with it. I LOVE lavender, but you have to be careful with it. Too much and whatever you are making starts to taste like soap.
When I make homemade croutons I sprinkle lavender over them while they are baking along with a little thyme and rosemary. I do a balsamic and olive oil dressing with lavender as well. Herbs de Provence sprinkled on a steak and grilled is good too.
lavender scented honey (just some lavender steeped in honey) is good on fresh baked biscuits.

kathryn said...

Lavender is actually one of my favorite flavors. Herbs de Provence! There are many many things I put that on, perhaps especially roasted potatoes, roasted beets, and in my version of ratatouille. Delicious.

Cindy said...

Hoping all is well in your world since we have not seen you in awhile.

Sydney said...

Yummm looks so good. We have the best honey lavender icecream in San Fran, ca at Bi-rite in the mission. I would love to make this at home from scratch. I need to find an icecream maker in France!

http://thetastysidetolife.blogspot.com/

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Heather--Lavender butter sounds wonderful! I'll have to try making that--would go great with lemon poppyseed scones, I bet!

Meredith--What a great idea! It does add a subtle perfume and it's fun to watch people try to identify it.

Marjorie--I would never live close to a river bank either--you never know when they'll flood!

Kathryn--Hooray for fried okra!

Emmylou + Miller--What a perfect contribution! And you're very welcome--thank you for reading!

Bob--Rabbit and lavender sounds like a wonderful combination! Can't wait to try it!

LDJO--I bet that is gorgeous!

Sarah--It does pair well with honey. And I'm definitely going to try making those caramels.

Jen--I think you could use blue agave nectar and it would be just fine.

Brooke--Oh, yum!

Lara--You'll always have your memories!

Shelley--Thank you and welcome!

Linsey--You do have to use it with a light hand, I agree.

Kathryn--Oh, course! How could I forget!

Cindy--Thank you for asking! I was on a working vacation in Texas and then got a terrible cold. Should be posting shortly!

Sydney--I'm a big Bi-Rite fan!

calbrecan said...

Sounds deeeeeeeeeelightful! I happen to be lucky enough to dwell in the very Hill Country you mentioned, and am looking forward to visiting the fields myself this summer. A year or two ago, we happened upon a sign which simply read, "LAVENDER" with an arrow pointing down a well-traveled back road just outside of Fredericksburg off Hwy 16. Following the direction of the sign, we arrived upon a picturesque scene. A beautiful sea of purple waving in the perfumed breeze. A scattering of canvases behind which artists tried in vain to capture the simple beauty before them. And a tail-wagging Labrador sharing slobbery kisses with anyone showing the slightest interest in receiving one. Top that off with complimentary lavender lemonade to ward off that Texas summertime thirst, and we had the makings of a great visit. Sadly, I do not remember the name of said lavender farm, but I'll be keeping an eye out for that sign on the side of the road. I hope you enjoy your visit to our neck of the woods!

Eva Cherneff said...

Wow! I've been looking for a good lavender honey ice cream recipe, ever since I watched "Its Complicated" that is all I can think about is that ice cream, and then here you are posting about some! I'm making it this week!

Elizabeth & Chad said...

I made this for the first time last weekend and it was DELICIOUS! The egg based custard method of ice cream is definitely the way the go! I think my honey was a little dark which is why it had an overwhelming honey flavor rather than a balanced lavender but still SO delicious!

Michelle Rollins said...

That's it. I need an ice cream maker. Stat.

Anonymous said...

The most amazing dessert that I have had included Lavender. It was at the Sorrento Hotel, in the Library Bar. It was a Panna Cotta on a bed of lavender reduction with lemon. So light, and yet so dang good! We ate it every day we were there.

Dina said...

I love the combination of honey and lavender -- its such a soothing, light flavor!

Eva said...

I'm from Chicago and currently reside in Washington, DC, so not a lot of fresh lavender fields. Where might one find edible and cook-able lavender on the cold East Coast?

kelly said...

It's not exactly warm outside today, but this got my attention. Lovely, lovely flavors.

Anonymous said...

When I go to a baby shower I bring Lavender Lemonade and gift everyone with a bag of their own lavender and the recipie to make their own. I have also made a Lavender Dressing for my salads.

Andrea said...

Where can I get the lavender? Can I use oil? This sounds delicious.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Andrea--I've never used oil. You can find dried lavender at specialty stores, farmers markets and some grocery stores carry it, too. You can order it from Penzey's.

la karchmerita said...

I have made this in the past with fantastic results! But I just made it for the first time this summer and my dairy curdled. I replaced whole milk for the cream (I know, I know, it's just what I had on hand) - could that be the reason why?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

La Karchmerita--There are several reasons why it could have curdled. Without more details I don't know what happened, but check out this thread and see if any apply to your situation. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/279608

Tony D said...

I am new to this blog. Just came across this recipe, I use lavender in my herbed rice pilaf. Adds a nice floral flavor while helping the thyme oregano rosemary and onions to blend. Lavender is great in many things. I am behind I guess because I haven't used it in many deserts but in more of the savory dishes. A little in your chicken or giblet gravy is awesome.

shelley said...

This might be a dumbe question - but what is half and half?
Thanks!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Shelley--Half and half is a dairy product that is half cream, half whole milk.

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