So lavender and I have a thing. I love it, but it hates me. If I smell lavender, whether is manufactured or real, it gives me an instant, horrendous headache. It’s the darnedest thing, and a wicked pain in the butt. Lavender is in every scented thing it seems. I have been so hesitant to cook with lavender, because even walking by our huge, beautiful lavender plant in the garden makes my head explode. But then I thought, maybe eating it will help my weird reaction? A little oral amino-therapy I think my friend called it. Ha. So far, I can’t tell if it’s worked yet. I guess I better eat some more ice cream.
When I decided to attempt lavender, I thought that honey would be make an excellent pairing. So then my thought transformed into, why not make ice cream without any refined sugar and make honey the primary sweetener! I’ve never tried that with ice cream before, so I was a little nervous the ice cream wouldn’t harden properly. Well, I needn’t have worried. It was perfect! I simply altered my favorite ice cream base to what I thought would work the best and it was a beautiful turn out. (I could say “churn” out for a knee slapping joke. ha ha)
The honey turned the ice cream a beautiful tan color (who has ever said that about tan?!), and it’s so perfectly creamy and easy to scoop. I could eat this all day long. Bonus, it pairs beautifully with the raspberry rose ice cream. To make this ice cream, find the best quality honey (even better if it’s local) you can afford. It is a prominent flavor, so quality makes a difference. Refined sugar free, key floral notes from the lavender, creamy honey made by those hard working bees, you have yourself the ideal summer ice cream.
Recipe barely adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
- 2 cups whole milk, divided
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup good quality honey
- 2 Tablespoons dried culinary lavender
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of the milk to create a slurry.
- In a medium heat-proof bowl, mix the cream cheese and salt together until smooth.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, and honey. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Let boil for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the lavender buds. Let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the buds, and pour back into the saucepan. Discard the lavender buds. Turn the heat to medium-high and whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring to boil and stir constantly with a rubber spatula until thick, about 1 minute.
- Whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill completely, several hours or overnight.
- When the mixture has sufficiently chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Store in the freezer.