Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lavender: A Little Goes a Long Way

...And a lot goes way too far. I decided to try out lavender ice cream. A recipe search on Google revealed that a lot of people have actually made quite a few variations of honey lavender ice cream. It sounded like a good idea, so I decided to try it out, even though I'm not a really huge fan of honey.

Now, for the amount of ice cream I usually make, it looked like people were using 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of lavender. I was going to go with 1/4 cup, and at the last minute, I bumped it up to 1/2 cup. Cold masks flavor, and I wasn't planning on lavender having a huge amount of flavor, so I decided the extra amount would be needed. I also noticed that instead of my 3/4 cup sugar, people were going with 1/4 cup sugar plus 1/3 cup honey. Makes sense to me: honey is more dense than granulated sugar, so the smaller amount would probably just about even out. So, ingredients were as follows:

1 pint milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons stabilizer
4 oz cream cheese, softened
6 egg yolks
pinch salt
1/2 cup dried lavender

I put it together via the curd method that I've grown so fond of, and let it chill. It tasted pretty good so far. A good bit of lavender flavor, with a strong honey finish. A couple of hours later, Daphne called. She's a good friend from cooking school that I've managed to keep in touch with. I told her about my creation that was currently aging in the fridge, and she warned me that too much lavender could get bitter. Um. Oops.

Today I strained out the lavender petals and churned it in the ice cream maker. As I was putting it in the freezer, I couldn't resist a taste. Whoa! It was such a lavender overload, that it did actually taste bitter, especially the aftertaste. Where I was a little worried from the initial taste that the honey would overpower the lavender, there was no honey flavor left.

I think that if I dropped the lavender flavor down to 1/4 cup or less, it would be a pretty good ice cream. I'm guessing at the moment that 3 tablespoons would be a good compromise. But now you and I have both been warned, go easy on the lavender.


  1. Wow I didn't know lavender was even edible. How can you like honey less than lavender? That just seems weird. De gustibus...

    So what does lavender taste like exactly? Is it like eating purple?

  2. It tastes... well... like lavender. Kind of floural, deceptively light until you get too much of it. More aromatic than anything.

  3. I *adore* lavender flavor and have all kinds of recipes; lavender sorbet, lavender potatoes, etc. But you're right; too much will just about kill you. I found a really good honey-lavender ice cream on epicurious, served in profiteroles. Incredibly rich, but also not overpowering at all. They also have a good pound cake with blueberries in lavender syrup recipe as well. Mmmmmmmmm. Lavender.


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