Peony Ice Cream with a Blackberry Honey Swirl

May 26, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Makes One Quart
Author Notes

There isn't one thing about peonies that I don't love. They are delicate from petal to root. Peonies look like lace, smell like an understated rose, and their petals feel like butter. If there was a bed made of peony petals I think I might never leave it. Since I have been playing with new flavors I got to looking at my peonies differently. They are another edible flower. Yay for that! So I started thinking "ice cream", and this is what I ended up with. It is technically a frozen custard since it uses eggs but I'm calling it an ice cream for simplicity of terminology. **Note: Peonies are poisonous to cats, so keep this away from them** - Dabblings


Test Kitchen Notes

This peony custard is the sophisticated shade of pink you wished your 3 year-old would have chosen for their bedroom walls. When you add the deep purple stripe of the honeyed blackberries, it is a feast for the eyes. You need fragrant flowers to achieve a headier scent and taste. I used a sieve and a wooden spoon to crush the steamed petals and squeeze out all of the color and flavor. More unusual than rose or lavender flavors but balanced with the fruit ribbon swirls for an elegant last course. - lorigoldsby —lorigoldsby

What You'll Need
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 12 large, fully opened peony blossoms
  • 3 cups blackberries
  • Honey (to taste)
  1. Pick the petals from six of the blossoms from the peonies. You don't want the stamen or any part of the stem. Wash them repeatedly. Besides ants, there will be other little bugs who are also very fond of these flowers. I'm assuming that most people don't want to be eating those little guys. So wash, wash, wash. I used my salad spinner, which seemed to do the trick.
  2. Combine the heavy cream, the whole milk, and the petals in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir the petals into the cream until the cream is at a bare simmer. Turn off the heat and allow the petals to steep. After 30 minutes strain the petals with a fine strainer and repeat the process with the other six blossoms using the same cream. You are double infusing the cream to get a strong peony flavor.
  3. While you are infusing the cream for a second time whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until they are light and fluffy. I used a hand mixer for 2 minutes. Once the eggs are fluffy, whisk in the sugar a little at a time until it is fully Incorporated.
  4. Pour about a cup of the hot, strained, peony cream into the egg mixture, whisking the whole time (you are tempering the eggs here). Then pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the peony cream. Cook the ice cream base over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon (so that when you run your finger down the back of the spoon it leaves a line through the ice cream base). This won't take more than a few minutes so don't go anywhere, just keep stirring.
  5. Once the ice cream base coats the back of a spoon lick the spoon, and remove the ice cream base from the heat. Transfer the base to a container and set it in the refrigerator until it is cooled completely. I suggest letting it chill overnight. Impatience is your enemy here.
  6. Next make the blackberry syrup. Place the blackberries into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir them and smoosh them with a spoon until they are a pulpy mess. At this point add in the honey. I used about 1 1/2 Tbs of honey. I didn't put in a measurement under the ingredients because you may want it sweeter or not so sweet. I add in the honey and taste it until it is where I like it. Also some blackberries are sweeter than others, so you really have to keep an open mind about the amount of honey you plan on using. Once the mixture has come to a simmer remove it from the heat. Strain it to remove the pulp and the seeds. Store it until it is completely cooled in the refrigerator.
  7. The next day freeze your ice cream base in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.
  8. When the ice cream is at a soft serve consistency turn off the ice cream maker and place 1/3 of the ice cream into a container. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of the blackberry syrup onto the ice cream. Layer another 1/3 of the ice cream into the container and repeat with the blackberry syrup. Then put the last 1/3 of the ice cream on top of that. Take a knife and swirl the blackberry syrup into the peony ice cream gently. Don't over-do it or it will combine too much.
  9. Once swirled to satisfaction place the container of peony ice cream into the freezer to harden. This will take 3-4 hours.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • BoulderGalinTokyo
  • lorigoldsby
  • Sagegreen
  • WinnieAb
  • Beautiful, Memorable Food
    Beautiful, Memorable Food

12 Reviews

Hi Dabblings. I made the blackberry Honey Swill last year & in the freezer just waiting. My peonies won't bloom all at once either, so I plan on freezing after the first infusion. Then when I have enough peonies I will do the second infusion. Ever tried this?
I wouldn't think I could just freeze the peony petals and infuse when I have enough....
Swirl =Hate this spell checker.
BoulderGalinTokyo February 3, 2012
Very interesting. I've been cooking with different varieties of roses, but this is the first time I seen peonies! I will certainly smell my peonies differently this spring.
lorigoldsby June 10, 2011
If I had access to peonies, I definitely would have tested this! We had them in our first house as a hedge row and I loved them. Your addition of the blackberry honey just sounds so delightful!
Sagegreen June 1, 2011
Such a wonderful floral flavor, too! Beautiful!!!
HCR May 30, 2011
i'm overjoyed i didn't know they were edible. my room is full of them at this very moment. they are spilling all over the garden!
WinnieAb May 29, 2011
Cannot wait for my peonies to open any day now...this is such a fabulous recipe!
Dabblings May 30, 2011
Oh good! You'll have to tell me how you like it!!
Beautiful, M. May 28, 2011
This is beautiful and so interesting! Peonies are my favorite flower, for all the reasons you mentioned plus the fact that they are so ephemeral.
Lizthechef May 27, 2011
So unusual...Wonder why peonies are bad for kitties but not for people? Great recipe!
Dabblings May 27, 2011
I wondered the same thing. I even went as far as to research it a little. I couldn't find any reasons though. It might be a weight thing, seeing as how we are so much bigger than them. Sort of like how dogs can't have chocolate. But sisnce cats like milk products I thought it was worth mentioning.
Helen's A. May 27, 2011
Wow! This sounds wonderful. Can't wait for my peonies to bloom so that I can try this...