When I first got our KitchenAid ice cream attachment back in December, it seemed like I was making ice cream left and right. Despite the middle of winter cold, it was such a fun treat to experiment with. And then I either got busy or lazy, or some combination of both and neglected the poor ice cream bowl that took up permanent residence in our freezer.
A couple summers ago when we were in Sebastopol, California, one of our favorite ice cream shops had a gigantic sign on the window that read, “LAVENDER IS HERE!” I had never heard of lavender ice cream, nor tried it… so of course it was the flavor that immediately caught my attention. While there is certainly a hint of floral taste, it isn’t overwhelming. It’s light and refreshing, while still creamy and indulgent.
Vincent declared this his favorite ice cream flavor. The vanilla ice cream is velvety without feeling too heavy. While the floral aspect of the lavender included in this ice cream base is present, it balances beautifully with the fresh blueberry sauce that is swirled throughout the final ice cream. This is certainly worth tasting at least once. And lucky me — both fresh lavender and fresh blueberries are easy to find right now!
Blueberry Lavender Ice Cream
Yields approximately one quart of ice cream.
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup culinary grade lavender flowers
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, stems removed
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons water
Warm the milk, sugar, salt, and half of the heavy cream in a small pot over medium heat. Once the milk is warm, scrape the seeds from the halved vanilla bean into the mixture, along with scraped bean pod and lavender. Cover the pot and allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes.
While the milk is cooling, prepare the blueberries. Place the berries, 3 teaspoons of sugar and water into a small pot. Bring up to boiling, stirring periodically. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the berries begin to burst and a sauce begins to form. This will take 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat source and let the blueberry sauce cool to room temperature.
Pour the remaining heavy cream into a small bowl (steel is preferable if you have one). In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture through a fine mesh strainer, into the yolks, stirring constantly. This will allow the lavender and vanilla bean pod to be strained out. Scrape the warmed egg yolks and milk back into your small sauce pot.
Over medium heat, stir the egg/milk mixture constantly, scraping the bottom of the pot while you mix. Continue stirring and cooking the mixture until it thickens and can coat the back of your spoon. Pour the custard through the mesh strainer, into the remaining heavy cream. Stir in the vanilla extract. Continue stirring the mixture over an ice bath, until the custard cools. Place the custard into your refrigerator until it’s completely chilled.
When you are ready to churn the ice cream, remove the vanilla bean from the custard. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream will not freeze hard in the machine, but reach a soft-serve consistency. Once the ice cream has reached soft serve consistency, use a spatula to fold in the blueberry sauce. You can serve it like this if you wish (it’s delicious) or scoop the mixture into a lidded container and allow it to harden in the freezer for at least one hour for it to reach a scoop-able consistency.