Summer in the PNW is my favorite. In addition to all the stone fruit and berries anyone could ever want, summer is also lavender season. There’s a lovely bunch of it on my way to work that smells so refreshing when the mornings are cool and there’s a breeze.
C is teaching me how to make ice cream, so we came up with this recipe together. This ice cream uses culinary lavender and vanilla bean to make a rich custard-style ice cream with a perfect balance of lavender and vanilla.
I feel like there should be a Fried Green Tomatoes joke here because queer romance is clearly making messy foods together in the kitchen, right? Was that in Cosmo‘s “lesbian” sex tips column? (Do “”lesbian””” sex tips even work if you’re bi and genderqueer?) That one about “do the thing your partner likes and then keep doing it” was really A++, so one could assume that “rub food on your partner’s face and ask if they like it and then keep doing that until you are interrupted by a man” is also a good tip. Take note, gentle reader.
Anywayyyy, this version is very rich; if you prefer a less rich ice cream, substitute 2 cups of whole milk for the 2 cups of half-and-half.
Lavender-Vanilla Ice Cream
Adapted from “Vanilla Bean Ice Cream,” Custard-Style Ice Creams, Cusinart Recipe Booklet for Automatic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker, p. 6.
Yield: 6 cups (8-12 servings–12 is ideal, as it’s very rich, but let’s be honest.)
Total: ~16-24 hours (freezing freezer bowl)
Active: ~30 minutes
Inactive: ~2.5 hours
2 cups (480 mL) half and half
2 cups (480 mL) heavy cream
1 cup (225 g) granulated sugar, divided (1/2 cup + 1/2 cup)
a pinch of salt
1 whole vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped
2 tsp culinary lavender
5 large egg yolks
-ice-cream maker (I use a Cusinart)
-hand mixer or stand mixer + heat-proof bowl
-angled wooden spatula (looks like a wooden spoon with a flat edge)
-fine mesh strainer
*Before you start: follow the instructions for cooling your ice-cream maker basin. We usually make our ice cream mixture and cool it overnight while we freeze the freezer bowl (~16-24 hours) prior to making the ice cream.
1. Using a wooden spatula, in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, whisk together half-and-half, cream, 1/2 cup of the sugar, salt, lavender, and the prepared vanilla bean (with pod). Continue to whisk as you bring the mixture just to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes.
2. Combine eggs and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a medium heat-proof bowl (hand mixer) or stand mixer bowl and beat on low speed until mixture is pale and thick. Set aside.
3. Gently reheat the cream mixture to a slight boil, then whisk about 1/3 of the cream mixture into the bowl with the egg mixture. Whisk in another 1/3 of the cream mixture, then add the combined mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture.
4. Using the angled spatula, stir the mixture constantly over low heat for a few minutes until it thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon. Don’t let the mixture boil or the yolks will overcook.
5. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and discard the lavender and vanilla pod. Bring to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.
6. When the mixture has cooled and the freezer bowl is ready (see above), follow the instructions on your ice-cream maker. For the Cuisinart, turn on the machine and pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl. Let mix until thickened, about 20 minutes. If you prefer a firmer consistency, transfer the ice cream into an airtight container and place in freezer for 2 hours then let it sit out at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.
7. Serve with blueberries or blackberries.