I admit it. My ice cream past drips peculiarities. One of my all time favorite flavors is cucumber. I’ve written a love letter to scoops of strawberry. And I’ve been known to stalk the rose-flavored variety that appears at Christina’s homemade ice cream shop in the summertime. An ice cream—no less—that a dear, thoughtful friend said tasted like “grandma” when she tried it.
This ice cream is not like that. I promise. Think Meryl Streep. Okay, that almost certainly doesn’t help; you probably need more information. In a recent-ish movie, the lovely Ms. Streep played a pastry chef that made lavender ice cream when she couldn’t sleep. That’s the charm of Meryl.
And that’s the charm of this ice cream. And the charm of a lady in Ohio called Jeni who has found a way to make homemade ice cream taste very, very good. It's texture almost has a chew to it. And believe me, friends, this is a wonderful thing.
It’s a very, very wonderful thing that has caused me to repeat myself. Repeat myself! And then gently nudge to lower my voice. Check my enthusiasm at the freezer. Lest we forget, the point of lavender is to relax.
Lavender Ice Cream
Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home
Berry base for coloring
1/2 cup blueberries
2 tbsp sugar
Ice cream base
2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp cream cheese, softened
Pinch kosher salt
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup (or brown rice syrup)
1 tbsp dried lavender buds, wrapped in cheese cloth and tied with kitchen twine
1/2 tsp orange blossom water
1 tbsp framboise
Bring blueberries and 2 tbsp of sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved; remove from heat and set aside.
For the ice cream, combine 2 tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch and mix it in a small bowl until it becomes paste-like. Then combine the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl and mix it until smooth. Separately, fill a large bowl with ice and add water; set aside.
Heat the remaining milk, cream, 2/3 cup sugar, corn syrup (or brown rice syrup), and the cheese cloth filled with lavender in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring often so that the milk does not burn; keep at this for about 4 minutes and then remove the pan from the heat and add in the cornstarch slurry.
Return the mixture to a boil and stir until it thickens slightly (this should only take a minute or so). Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until smooth. If any bits of cream cheese remain simply strain them out. (Leave in the lavender.) Add the blueberry mixture and stir to combine.
To cool it down immediately, pour the mixture into a ziplock bag (or a smaller metal bowl that will fit inside your bowl filled with ice) and then chill your base in the bowl with ice water. Then stick this all in the fridge. (It should be cold in 30-60 minutes or so.) Alternatively, you could stick your ice cream base directly into the fridge and chill it overnight. (You may want to take the bunch of lavender out after an hour or so if you are chilling it overnight to prevent any off flavors from coming out.)
Once the ice cream base is good and cold, strain out the blueberries (or leave them in, if you choose) and remove the lavender (if you haven't already) and pour the ice cream mixture into the bowl of a frozen ice cream maker; spin it for 20-25 minutes, until it starts to set up and get thick and creamy. Add the orange blossom water and framboise and let it churn for about 30-60 seconds more and then stop.
Pack the ice cream in a container fit for your freezer and cover with parchment paper.
Makes about 1 quart
- Yes, this seems like a lot of steps but it is very much worth it. Or, you can buy a similar version straight from Jeni.
-Also, Jeni leaves in the berries, but I wanted pure lavender. She who makes the ice cream makes the choice.
-Jeni used 2 drops of food grade lavender essential oil. I did not have this. I had flower buds. So I bundled them in cheesecloth and steeped them in the milk. It was lovely.
-Jeni, Jeni, Jeni.