Updated: Apr 26
We have tons of lavender in our backyard and I wanted to make something with it. I found this recipe amongst my cookbooks and knew immediately that this was it.
An ice cream with lots of steps and a ton of work, but the end results make this all worthwhile. A delicate honey ice cream, folded with pistachio-honey brittle (and tons more on the side) and topped with a delicate lavender-honey sauce. This ice cream is so creamy and decadent that it refuses to freeze to a hard solid, but stays as a wonderful gelato. You are transported at once to a wonderful bistro in Paris when you eat this ice cream.
I have eaten a few times at Chez Panisse, and have enjoyed every meal. Alice waters was amongst the first to start the farm-to-table concept and one of the creators of light and beautiful california cuisine. This move came after the restaurant started as a traditional French restaurant. This book is filled with wonderful recipes from the restaurant, from the simple to some extremely complex recipes like this one.
For more recipes from this cookbook click here.
For the honey ice cream:
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup half and half
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 cups chilled heavy cream
1/3 cup honey
For the pistachio-honey brittle:
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup chopped pistachios
A silicone baking sheet or parchment paper sprayed with oil
For the lavender-honey sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup honey
1/8 cup crushed lavender
A couple drops lemon juice
To make the ice cream custard: Heat the sugar and half and half in a small pot or double boiler on low heat till the sugar dissolves. Add some of the hot liquid into the egg yolks to warm them slightly and mix well. Pour all the eggs into the half and half and stir well to mix. Stir constantly till the custard forms and coats the spatula. Remove from the heat and pour through a strainer into a bowl. Chill in the refrigerator.
To make the pistachio-honey brittle: Add the sugar to a small pot, I use a nonstick pot, and heat on medium heat. Do not stir. You will see the sugar slowly melt along the sides, gently push the sugar crystals to the edges so more melts. You do not want to stir as the sugar will clump and the caramelization will be lumpy. Keep teasing the sugar towards the melting parts till it is all a liquid. Once it completely liquifies, it will be a dark golden color, add the honey, careful, it will sizzle and splutter. Mix in and pour it over the prepared silicone sheet or parchment paper and spread out using a spatula, working quickly into a thin layer. Using your hands distribute the chopped pistachios over the molten sugar (Careful it is extremely hot) and use the rolling pin to roll the nuts into the caramel. Do not touch the molten sugar, it is super hot.
If the sugar has begun to hardened, heat an oven to 325°F and heat for a few minutes to melt the sugar again. Roll out again. Remember, this is not meant to look pretty at this point. Allow to cool completely and break into bits. Take about 1/4 of the brittle and cut it into small pieces, some of it will crumble into powder but that is okay (see section on making the ice cream to decide if you want to add the brittle or not).
To make the lavender-honey sauce:
Heat the sugar and water in a small pot till the sugar dissolves. Add the honey and the lavender and heat to 235°F, I simmered it for 2 minutes on very low heat. Strain and allow to cool. Add the lemon juice and taste for a balance of herb, sweet and tart.
The lavender from my garden is very flavorful, I had to use about 1 tablespoon. You can judge how deeply flavored you want your sauce by adjusting the amount of lavender you use and how long you simmer the sauce for. Taste the sauce as it simmers. A really strong lavender sauce tends to overpower the delicate ice cream, so be careful for the right balance of flavors.
To make the ice cream:
The ice cream can be made either with the brittle in it or plain. The choice is yours. I decided to add the brittle to the ice cream. Take a small piece of the brittle, yes I know you have already tasted it, how could you not have, and dip it into the custard and taste it. If you like the combination add the brittle, but not too much to overwhelm the delicate honey flavor. If you like the delicate ice cream plain, don't add it and you can always add the brittle to your bowl later as a topping.
Churn the ice cream, with or without the brittle, I use an ice cream machine. Add the brittle, if using when the machine dings for adding the solid ingredients.
To serve: Scoop the ice cream into bowls. You can stick a large piece of brittle on top and drizzle some of the lavender sauce onto the ice cream. Serve extra lavender sauce on the side for those who want more.