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Author Notes: I first tasted this ice cream in a small shop in Nice, France's Old Town. The subtle lavender flavor had me hooked at first lick! I had to come home and figure out how to make it. Be sure the lavender you use is specifically for food. The stuff for sachets has been treated with chemicals. - ChefJune
Makes 1 1/2 quarts
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons lavender flowers
- 1 1/2 teaspoons water
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 3 extra-large eggs
- In a small, heavy saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of lavender and 1 1/2 teaspoon of water. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture dries (2 to 3 minutes). Transfer to a plate to cool, then grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder or a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Set aside
- In a large heavy saucepan, combine the milk, crème fraîche, vanilla bean and remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1/2 teaspoon lavender. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot (about 8 minutes).
- Remove from heat, cover and let the mixture steep for 15 minutes. Strain the milk through a fine-mesh sieve and return it to the saucepan.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Gradually whisk in one-third of the warmed milk mixture in a thin stream, then whisk the mixture back into the remaining milk in the saucepan. Stir in the reserved lavender powder.
- Cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard lightly coats the back of a spoon (about 5 to 7 minutes). BE CAREFUL NOT LET THE MIXTURE BOIL!
- 6. Immediately remove from the heat and strain the custard into a medium bowl. Set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice and water, and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. (Or, you can use the refrigerator [or freezer]). Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Pour the custard into an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Teacher’s Tip: The lavender powder can be made in advance and frozen for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Frozen Dessert