I like everything about lavender; the color, the smell, the taste; even the word “lavender” itself sounds elegant and poetic. The blue-purple shade of its buds is one I’d choose to paint a room with, and the sweet, clean notes of lavender’s perfume attract me to any soap or candle that holds its scent.
When it comes to the gentle aromatic taste of lavender, the immediate and best idea that comes to my mind is to turn it into ice cream. I tried the fragrant flavor for the first time last year and have been dreaming of making it myself ever since.
Without its pretty flowers lavender resembles rosemary, but all accusations are squashed at the first sniff. To sweeten and flavor the ice cream base, I added simple syrup which I infused with several of the spiky sprigs. For a little extra sugar, I also mixed in a couple of tablespoons of honey.
Now, I wouldn’t say that lavender ice cream is the type you’d eat piled high on a waffle cone three scoops at a time (save that for peanut butter ice cream); it’s more of a light palate cleanser after a heavy meal. The softness of the herb served frozen makes for an after-dinner treat that defines refreshing.
The only thing that is more refreshing than lavender ice cream is to finally say that I got a job. Yep, after over a year of searching and trying, I got my first, “real world” big girl job as Jr. Cooking Editor for a publishing company in NYC. Can I get a “Hell Yeah!”? I start in a week.
While writing this post, I found out that lavender is said to represent luck. Now that I think about it, it was only a day after I purchased my lavender plant at the farmers’ market and planted it that I got the call to interview for the position; coincidence? Maybe not! I knew I liked this stuff…
Lavender Ice Cream:
Yield: About 5 cups
- ½ cup simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar brought to a boil)
- 4 large sprigs fresh lavender
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
• In a small pot, add lavender sprigs to simple syrup and bring to a boil to infuse. After the syrup has come to a boil, turn off the heat and let the lavender continue to steep until the syrup has become detectably fragrant, about 10 -15 minutes. Remove lavender.
• In a medium bowl, whisk together the infused simple syrup (cooled) with milk, heavy cream, honey and pinch of salt. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.
• Add the mixture to an ice cream machine and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.