Yesterday I rearranged my freezer, which was actually quite enjoyable. I got to find exciting things, that I had entirely forgotten were there, like left over frozen blueberries and filo pastry. I also got to find weird things, like a bag of orange buttercream frosting, which looks like something you would see in a medical textbook. I have no idea if it will unfreeze successfully (or even if I would want to use it if it did) – this may be worth a google. Still, at least surprises while cleaning the freezer are infinitely preferable to surprises while cleaning the fridge. Freezing is a wonderful thing.
Cleaning the freezer isn’t something I’d normally do, but this had a prupose. I was clearing room in the freezer to make room for my ice cream maker. I have long wanted to try a lavender ice cream, which meant making one (I’ve never seen one sold). It sounded so elegant, exotic, old fashioned and just generally fabulous. However, our flat freezer is indescribably wimpy (like, I think our house is genuinely colder than the freezer is) and so far has failed to freeze my ice cream maker. Refusing to be defeated, I decided to remember that ice cream was not invented when Sunbeam made its first Snowy frozen dessert maker. Making this ice cream without an ice cream maker was slightly more time consuming, but less than I had thought. It turned out delicious and with a lovely consistency, and very few ice crystals. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, don’t be put off trying this recipe.
This is a very rich, very lovely ice cream. The recipe doesn’t make a lot, but you only need and want very mall portions of it. The lavender is subtle, more of an undertone than a dominant flavour. If you do want a pronounced lavender, drastically increase the number of flowers you steep in the cream at the beginning. The lemon is a perfect complement to the lavender and cream, creating a wonderful aromatic and sophisticated ice cream.
Lavender and Lemon Ice Cream (ice cream maker not required)
Nine lavender flowers, and a teaspoon of lavender leaves (if not in season, dried is fine)
Two teaspoons of grated lemon rind
One teaspoon of vanilla essence
300 mL whole milk
3/5 of a cup of sugar
Steep the lavender flowers and lemon rind in the cream, milk and vanilla essence overnight. Strain through a sieve to remove the rind and flowers, then heat in a saucepan until nearly boiling. Beat eggs and sugar in a bowl until fluffy, then add to the pan. Continue to heat until it thickens. Pour into a chilled bowl (this helps it to cool faster) and leave until cold. This takes quite a while – try an ice bath, the freezer, leaving it outside etc.
If using an ice cream maker, once cold pour the mixture into the machine and then follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned, return to the freezer to harden. If making by hand, place the mixture in the freezer. Every couple of hours, beat it with a fork to break up any ice crystals forming. This only needs to be done a couple of times.
Serve in small portions. If the ice cream has become too hard in the freezer, leave it in the fridge before serving. Decorate with lavender flowers or curls of lemon rind.
This recipe was adapted from Desserts, Puddings & Ices, Bay Books 1994.