Recipe of the week
Honey lavender ice cream: Salt & Straw’s no-fuss method
“This may be news to many people,” said Tyler Malek in Salt & Straw (Clarkson Potter). “Making ice cream is not hard.” Every flavor we create at our Portland, Ore., shop and its two dozen spinoffs starts with the simple base described below. No tempering of eggs is required, and the only specialty items needed are dry milk powder, an ice cream machine, and xanthan gum.
“Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Xanthan gum’ sounds funny.… It must be impossible to find and it must be bad.’” Not true. Xanthan gum is a harmless thickening agent sold at most supermarkets. In cheap ice creams, it’s used in quantities meant to hide a reduction in dairy fat, but its role here is to improve texture by preventing large ice crystals from forming. You can turn the base into vanilla ice cream by simply adding two teaspoons of double-strength vanilla extract. Here, we share a flavor that’s “bliss for lavender lovers.”
Honey lavender ice cream
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp dry milk powder
¼ tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1½ cups whole milk
1½ cups heavy cream
Combine sugar, dry milk, and xanthan gum in a small bowl. Stir well. Pour corn syrup into a medium pot and stir in milk. Add sugar mixture and immediately whisk vigorously until smooth. Set pot over medium heat and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat if necessary to prevent a simmer, until sugar has fully dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
Add cream and whisk until fully combined. Transfer mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours, or for an even better texture, 24 hours. Stir base back together if it separates during resting time.
For ice cream:
¼ cup wildflower honey
½ cup dried lavender (buds only)
3 cups ice cream base, very cold
10 drops natural purple food coloring, preferably India Tree brand
In a saucepan, combine ¾ cup water and honey. Bring mixture to boil, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat. Stir in lavender, cover saucepan, and let steep at room temperature at least 4 hours or overnight.
Pour syrup through a fine-mesh strainer into a container, pressing on flower buds to extract liquid. Chill until cold and use right away or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Put lavender syrup, ice cream base, and food coloring into a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and turn on machine. Churn just until the mixture has the texture of soft-serve.
Transfer ice cream to freezer-friendly containers. Cover with parchment paper, pressing it to surface of the ice cream, then add lid. Store in coldest part of freezer until firm, at least 6 hours. Makes about 2 pints. ■