Last night's crostata was just begging for ice cream to serve alongside. So, I drove out to my favorite ice cream shop and found, as per usual, a line out the door and halfway down the block. I didn't feel like waiting so I decided I'd just make my own version of their signature flavor which is my absolute favorite. I think ice cream is perfect anytime but especially with yesterday's strawberry crostata.
The Lavender here is definitely a prominent flavor but not at all overpowering and it marries so perfectly with the floral notes of the honey. If you haven't yet made ice cream at home, you should plan to make it this season. It's so easy! You do need a couple of special tools but they're inexpensive and easy to find at most any kitchen store.
First, you'll need an ice cream maker. There are many versions out there from very simple and inexpensive to much more elaborate. Just a small batch freezer is fine here. You will also need a fine mesh strainer, ideally a chinois , for straining the custard. The conical shape of the chinois just makes the straining easier, but any fine mesh version will work. You will also need dried lavender blossoms. There are many sources online for dried lavender but I've found those from Lavender Bee Farm to be very fresh and to have a pleasantly pronounced flavor. Do seek out these items and plan ahead for a really fantastic treat!
For the ice cream:
Yields 1 quart
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup wildflower honey
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds removed
1 TB dried lavender blossoms
1/8 tsp sea salt
1) In a small saucepan, heat the milk, cream, sugar, and honey to just boiling. Watch the pot carefully so it doesn't boil up and over. Add the lavender blossoms, the vanilla bean and seeds, and the salt, and whisk together to combine. Place a lid on the pot and set it aside, off the heat, for 10-15 minutes to infuse the flavors.
2) Meanwhile, separate the eggs and whisk the yolks together to combine.
3) After the milk/lavender mixture has infused, place it back on the heat and return it to just simmering. Very carefully temper the hot milk into the egg yolks, whisking the yolks constantly, until 3/4 of the milk mixture is combined with the eggs. Return the egg/ milk mixture to the pot and turn the heat to low, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 180 degrees F and coats the back of a spoon.
4) While the custard is cooking, place a smaller bowl inside a larger bowl filled with cold water and ice cubes. Have your strainer ready. Once the custard is cooked, pour it through the strainer and into the smaller bowl (which is sitting over the ice bath). Once the custard is in, stir the mixture over the ice bath constantly to cool.
5) When the custard is well chilled, place it in your ice cream freezer and process according to manufacturers instructions. Take it out of the machine and place it in the freezer until desired consistency is reached.
*Serve alongside the strawberry crostata or with fresh berries and caramel sauce.