Blueberry Lavender Ice Cream

[Welcome to July AKA National Ice Cream Month! To celebrate, each Friday I will be posting a new delicious ice cream flavor alongside my regularly scheduled posts. Hope you enjoy the series!]

Each summer in Bozeman there is a weeknight Farmers’ Market just a few blocks from my work. If I remember, I love cruising through to see the array of fresh produce, baked goods, artisan jewelry, and local craftsmen from the area. One of my favorite things is the abundance of jam flavors, everything from the standard mixed berries to the more unusual sweet and spicy concoctions.

Last summer I discovered a delightful blueberry lavender jam that I just fell in love with. Bursting with blueberry and complimented by the lightness of lavender, it’s a flavor profile that is excellent on toast or a scone, but also escalates your standard PB&J into something a bit more exciting. Given its huge success in jam form, I decided it’d be an excellent combination as one of this year’s ice cream flavors.

I combined the ideas from my favorite blueberry sauce and my lavender ice cream from two years ago into one glorious experience. The syrup is excellent on its own and in a thickened form2 would be delicious for pancakes or waffles. Mixed into the ice cream it’s lighter in taste than some of your more traditional flavors (although the nutritional information looks no different.)

This is a fantastic summer flavor and works well with both fresh or frozen blueberries, whichever you have on hand. It’s also a great way to use up last year’s berries to make room for the new crop. Summery blueberry and fragrant lavender is a combination of which I will never tire,  and I encourage you to give it a try. As an added bonus, the ice cream is a beautiful swirled reddish-purple and adds lovely color to your dessert table. If you’re a cake and ice cream person, I’d recommend a light vanilla bean cake to pair it with.

Give this one a try and be sure to come back next week!

Blueberry Lavender Ice Cream 

Makes 6-7 cups

Ingredients

Blueberry Lavender Syrup
2 cups blueberries (if frozen, thaw and drain before using)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp culinary lavender

Ice cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup sugar

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, water, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a light boil and heat for an addition 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and mashing blueberries to release more flavor.
  2. Meanwhile, gently crush the lavender buds with a spoon (or a mortar and pestle, if you’re fancier than I am).
  3. Remove blueberry sauce from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the berries. Stir lavender into the syrup and allow to steep for about 30 minutes.
  4. Strain syrup through the sieve again, then store in the fridge until chilled or ready to use.2
  5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together cream, half and half, egg substitute, and 1/2 cup sugar.
  6. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator until completely chilled, or overnight.
  7. Reserve 1/2 cup of blueberry lavender syrup, and whisk 1 – 1.5 cups into the ice cream mixture.
  8. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions. During the last minutes of churn time, stream in the reserved syrup for a marbled effect.
  9. Transfer ice cream to a cold freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an additional three hours, or overnight.
  10. Excellent solo or with extra syrup.

Notes

You can discard the berries or store in the fridge to use as an ice cream topping. I also used some in oatmeal and smoothies which were both excellent.

If you are making the syrup specifically as a topping, you could stir in some cornstarch (mixed with water). Return to a boil for a few minutes to thicken the consistency of the syrup. Add the berries back in for a chunkier sauce if you like.

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Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {National Ice Cream Month}

[Welcome! In case you missed it, July is National Ice Cream month. Each Wednesday in July I have shared a new ice cream recipe. If you missed the other recipes, they can be found hereherehere, and here.]

Several years ago, at a local restaurant called Over the Tapas, I tried a lovely dessert: lavender crème brûlée. Before this I’d never had lavender as a flavor, only a scent, but I was immediately a big fan. After debating attempting to copy the dessert, I decided I should probably start with standard crème brûlée before moving on to something that seemed a bit more complex.

Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Four years later I still haven’t made any sort of crème brûlée, but it still remains on the to do list. I’ll get to it some day. Maybe. In any case, I still love the idea of lavender in baked goods, so when Kristin from Pastry Affair posted her Lavender Vanilla Bean Cake, I knew I needed to try it.

However, it turns out I’m incredibly lazy about making cakes so I still haven’t done that either. It did, however, inspire a new ice cream flavor for me to work out. Surprisingly, it only took me one try to find a recipe I am perfectly happy with, so I’m sharing it with you all today.

Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Delicate (but not subtle) lavender combined with the familiar flavor of vanilla bean, this ice cream is the usual smooth and creamy concoction with the somewhat unusual twist of lavender. As mentioned, it is not a subtle lavender but it’s not overwhelmingly strong either. I even got several opinions on this just to make sure I didn’t need to tone it down. It pairs beautifully with vanilla bean, as expected, and the black specs add a little bit of interest.

Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

I strained the buds from the ice cream but a few sprinkled atop each serving is pretty without making the texture strange.

Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

This lovely addition to my repertoire finishes up National Ice Cream Month. I hope you found a new favorite, or at least some ideas to think about. Thanks for joining me and I’m sure it’ll be back next year with a brand new round of flavors.

Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

(And if you’re overwhelmed with all the sugar this month, check back in a couple of weeks for a healthy entrée.)

Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream 

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk (not half and half; 2% is okay if you must)
4 tsp culinary lavender

1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup egg substitute
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder

Directions

  1. Gently crush the lavender buds with a spoon (or a mortar and pestle, if you’re fancier than I am).
  2. In a small saucepan, heat milk on medium until it just starts to boil, then remove from heat. Add lavender to the milk and allow it to steep for about 30 minutes. Pour milk through a fine mesh strainer to remove the lavender buds, pressing gently on the buds to release the most flavorful milk.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients with lavender milk until completely combined.
  4. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  5. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, then place in a cold freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an additional three hours, or overnight.
  6. A sprinkling of lavender buds makes a beautiful topping.

Notes

1 I found that with the reduced fat from my usual recipe the ice cream froze a lot harder. I attempted adding a little vodka to rectify this, but I didn’t care for the added flavor. Instead, just let the ice cream rest on the counter for 5-10 minutes before you intend to eat it to make it easier to dish.