Honey Lavender Ice Cream

I brought a container of this homemade honey lavender ice cream over to my parents' house on Sunday. We got together to celebrate a belated sort of Father's Day because last weekend I was in Vermont for my women's retreat and my brother was in Cape Cod at a wedding so my poor dad was left child-less on his special day.

But no matter, because we made it up to him this weekend, which I think is probably even better because while all the other dads were celebrating last weekend, this weekend was 100% his.

(At least, that's how we sold it to him.)

I've actually been planning to make this ice cream recipe since I saw the movie It's Complicated a few years ago. I love everything about that movie, but especially the fact that Meryl Streep's character is a chef and baker who makes ice cream when she can't sleep. In one of the scenes, she serves the Steve Martin character a croque-monsieur followed by a scoop of her honey lavender ice cream and he goes wild for it. "I must make that!" I thought when I saw it.

But then I sort of forgot about this for a little while until last month, when Eugene and I went to New Mexico for my friend's wedding. The ceremony (Freaking gorgeous! My video of it is here.) took place on an organic lavender farm called Los Poblanos. Everywhere you went there were little scented soaps and lotions from Los Poblanos, and in one shop I found a little bag of culinary lavender that I immediately knew was destined for ice cream.

I love floral sweets. It's why I'm drawn to Middle Eastern and Indian desserts (like this Lebanese Milk Ice Cream and these Lavender Lemon Shortbread Cookies), which are usually scented with rose water and orange blossom syrup. And it's why I pick out honeys and teas and other treats with bright flowery undertones. I know it's not for everyone, but I can't get enough of it.

My parents and Eugene all really enjoyed the ice cream. Our neighbor, John, who owns a wonderful bakery in New Jersey near the town where I grew up, came by and also really liked the ice cream (though he did call it "bougie.") Upon seeing everyone enjoying it, my brother, Gabriel (who usually shuns all sweets that are not cannolis made by John),  asked for a taste.

Which...he promptly spit out.
"It tastes like flowers!" he shouted.
"It's honey LAVENDER ice cream!" I explained, "lavender is a flower!"

"I just thought that was like a pretty name you made up for it," he replied.

Whatever, Gab.

I should also add that shortly after this, I was taking the above photos of the ice cream, and he asked me, "What do you do with all these photos of food you're always taking?"

Me: "I'm a food blogger!"

Gab: "Oh, yeah. That blog thing." 

Me: "Thanks, Gab."

Can't win them all, I guess!

I served this ice cream on top of a berry crumb dessert that I'll share with you later this week, and thought the honey and lavender was absolutely perfect with the berries. This is an ice cream that is just made for summer berry pie.

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Honey Lavender Ice Cream Recipe
Ingredients
2 cups whole milk (choose non-homogenized milk, if available)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons lavender buds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup honey


Directions
In a small saucepan, combine the whole milk, heavy cream, lavender buds, sea salt, and honey. Heat on medium heat just until it starts to simmer, then remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to an air-tight container, and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, up to 24.

Once chilled, pass the mixture through a strainer to remove the lavender buds. Whisk the ice cream mixture a few times and then pour into your ice cream maker, freezing according to manufacturer's instructions. The ice cream will be soft-serve texture once it runs through the ice cream maker; to get a more frozen texture, place in an air-tight container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving. Ice cream will keep well in freezer for about two weeks.

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