Now the lavender in the garden is in bloom it’s time to make one of my favourites and certainly one of the most intriguing ice creams. Lavender ice cream, being quite perfumed, is not to everyone’s taste. That said, I love it, particularly teamed with home made aniseed cookies or shortbread biscuits spiced up with small silvers of fresh ginger.
LAVENDER ICE CREAM
I got the recipe originally from Roger Vergé whose “Entertaining in The French Style” has long been one of my favourite books. Since I got my own ice cream maker – an Italian Nemox Gelato 1700 with a sex, shiny aluminium body and its own refrigeration unit, I’ve modified the recipe. My basic vanilla ice cream is :-
VANILLA ICE CREAM
150g vanilla sugar – I keep a jar of caster sugar with 5-6 vanilla pods in it for this purpose
300 g milk – Glenisk whole organic is my preference
200g single cream
4 egg yolks
I switch on the machine; whisk all the ingredients together with a hand blender until light and foamy and then pour the mixture into the Nemox’s bowl. This machine is expensive but really does the trick. The inexpensive Magimix machines, the ones where you put the bowl into the freezer before starting, work reasonably well – I’ve had two – but are less convenient and, I’ve found, quite fragile as the plastic pegs that locate the lid tend to snap under the strain. You finish up with a brick to hold the lid down!
This particular ice cream is a fresh egg, non-custard one so needs to be eaten up pretty rapidly – not that that’s a problem in our house.
For the lavender version I substitute ordinary caster sugar, plus the flowers from 6 sprigs of lavender. I take a cupful of the sugar, combine it with the lavender and whizz in my food processor until the lavender is reduced to powder.
Currently my favourite dessert, especially when made with my own fresh-roasted Central American arabica coffee and Nardini’s Mandorla – an almond-flavoured grappa, available from the excellent Celtic Whisky Shop in Dawson Street, Dublin.
Preheat the oven to 230C.
1 handful slivered almonds
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
1 single shot espresso
1 shot Mandorla or grappa
In a flat dish, toast the almonds until they turn a pale-to-mid brown. Place a scoop of ice cream in each bowl (or, preferably, an elegant glass). Add a shot of espresso and one of the Mandorla or plain grappa. Garnish with the toasted almonds.