How To Deal With A Lavendar Ice Cream Shortage

Make it yourself! Duh. I stopped at the Union Square market on the way home and got some $10 cooking lavender. Again, I really wish you could smell this. Anyone have ideas for a smell blog? Now to figure out how to turn it into ice cream….BRB it’s research time.

First stop, as always, is The NY Times Ice Cream chart. Since lavender isn’t actually on there, I did a bit more hunting and found the perfect answer to my primary concern…Bon Appetit’s article How To Cook With Lavendar So Your Food Doesn’t Taste Like Soap. I’m still not super confident. I’m not even confident the lavender is ‘culinary’ rather than ‘decorative’.

I found some lavender sugar in the cupboard so I used that as a guide to how much of the flower to use. I basically just shook the bundle over a bowl with 2/3 a cup of sugar til it roughly matched the packaged lavender sugar, then poured in a cup of heavy whipping cream and two cups of half and half.

I heated it on the stove on low until the sugar dissolved, then put it aside to make dinner (which is definitely not a required step). I made some really amazing pork chops, which I butterflied and filled with fontina cheese, fried in a pan with boiled potatoes and covered with a fancy ketchup sauce made with shallots & peppers. Thanks Blue Apron…Hangry crisis averted, I separated three eggs and gave the whites to Nika the dog. I whipped the yolks and slowly, slowly added the cream mixture back in. Then I put it back on the stove over low heat, whisking constantly, to reduce it until ‘it coated the back of a spoon or reached 170 degrees’. My thermometer was acting up and the mixture never really coated a spoon. It did start to smell like sweet cooked egg, so I gave up after 10–15 mins, lest it turn solid.

I grated some lemon zest and juiced half a lemon in, then let it sit while I cleaned the kitchen and took Nika for a walk. Before going to bed I strained out the flowers and the stray lemon seed, then put the mixture in the fridge til Friday afternoon before Lindsay’s party.

It ended up being a really nice balance of subtlety and a deep, almost savory lavender flavor. I’d use less sugar next time, so I’d put the recipe as:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • A shake or two of lavender flowers
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Zest & juice of half a lemon

That incredible cake was made by Lindsay’s husband Owen from their friend’s cookbook, My Name is Yeh!