Ice Cream Fusion Reaction

Lavender-ginger ice cream beside an apple galette with golden raisins and dried cranberries. This time, when I added the raisins, cranberries and almonds to the filling, I put them -under- the apples, rather than on top where they burned last time. This worked perfectly, I am pleased to report.

I don’t often make desserts.

Mainly, that is because I prefer cooking to baking, but also, because most of the time when I cook, most people eat so much of the dinner that they seldom want dessert until the next day.

Which is fine if people are staying for the weekend, but not so good if they are only there for the evening.

But, now and again, I like to make a sweet thing, like a batch of brownies, a pan of shortbread, maybe some scones, or for really special occasions, such as cherry season, a pie. Or in the case of Meyer lemon season–lemon bars.

Ever since I learned how to make galettes for the raclette class I taught back in January, I have been into making them because they really are a simple, quick but foolproof casual dessert. Now that the step of making and rolling out pie crust doesn’t intimidate me or give me hives, I actually think of galettes as fun. The simple nature of the fillings certainly appeal to my tendency to improvise, and since we were having an essentially country French dinner last night, I figured a galette was in order.

But, I felt that I wanted to do something more.

As lovely as galettes are, they can look rather nude on the serving plate, and since I adore my in-laws, I wanted to zing up the presentation. I was not into making a dessert sauce, like creme anglaise or a caramel-nut sort of dealiebob. Nor did I want to make whipped cream, as that is rather done and somewhat trite. While I could have run out and picked some violets and crystallized them, I was having pansy blossoms in the salad, so that would be a bit on the repetitive side.

But the flower idea kept haunting me, it being spring and all, so I went to my cupboard and found the dried lavender, and I got to thinking.

Lavender is often used in savory dishes in Provence, so why not use it in something to go with the galette?

Like, say, oh, homemade ice cream?

Oooh. Ice cream.


Tessa and Karl both -love- the frozen dairy products (as do I), so it was a natural.

Of course, I thought of this about four hours before dinner was to happen, so I didn’t really plan ahead.

I knew where the ice cream maker was, as I had found it in my unpacking adventures two nights before. I knew where the rock salt was. So what if I didn’t know if I had enough ingredients?

My ice cream maker is a Rival model I bought at Target about six years ago for the measley sum of eight dollars, because it was the end of the season, and they wanted to be rid of them. It is a tiny electric critter that makes two quarts, but hey, for eight bucks, who is going to argue?

So, I dragged it out, and looked in the instruction book for a vanilla ice cream recipe.

Now, even though it is only a two-quart model, all of the recipes in the little instruction booklet (which makes ice cream making sound a lot harder than it really is) that came in the box are for four quarts, which is not only excessive when I am talking about dessert for four people, but a physical impossiblity for my equipment. So, already, I am going to be improvising.

So, since I was already improvising and altering the recipe considerably by cutting it in half, and adding lavender to the mixture, I figured, why stop there? Why not make a few more tiny little changes?

Like why just flavor it with lavender and vanilla?

Why not add something else?

Like, oh, say, uh, ginger?

You just knew I would have to sneak some Chinese ingredient in there somehow, didn’t you?

Well, yeah, I am that way.

I hadn’t gotten to cook them Chinese food, so I figured I’d take my country French dinner and throw an Asian curve ball into the works and see what happened.

What happened was rather tasty: lavender and ginger go well together. Which is a good thing, because I wasn’t satisfied with one form of ginger, but instead, used three different kinds of it, just for kicks.

I also ended up using a cup of whole milk sour cream in it, because I didn’t have enough heavy cream and had no half and half like the recipe I was adapting used. It turned out to be an inspired choice; the tang was a welcome addition to the mix of flavors. I also lowered the amount of sugar called for and instead of regular granulated sugar, used evaporated cane juice, because it has a more complex flavor profile.

I have to admit, however, that I have not come up with a good name for the ice cream, so for the moment, it will have to be known quite simply as

Lavender-Ginger Ice Cream


1 cup 1% milk
2 tablespoons dried lavender buds
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
3/4 cup evaporated cane juice or sugar
2 tablespoons honey
pinch salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I used Penzey’s double strength)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons finely minced crystallized ginger
1″ cube fresh ginger, grated finely


Heat milk, lavender buds and ginger in a heavy bottomed saucepan on low heat for five minutes. Bring to a near boil to scald milk, remove from heat, and stir. Allow to sit and steep at least fifteen minutes. The longer you steep, the more lavender flavor you will extract.

Strain buds out of milk, and bring back to scalding temperature. Add sugar, honey, and salt, stir until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients, and whisk briskly to incorporate sour cream.

Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes about two quarts.


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  1. That is lavish!
    I have enough trouble resisting eating ice cream alllll the time without being able to make fabulous flavors of it at home.
    Pie-crust-based desserts are the only kinds I make—my mother, as well as teaching me to correctly iron men’s shirts, taught me to make pie crust and biscuits.
    Could you really rush outside and pick violets??? What’s up here is….crocus and that yellow early Spring flower. And some Siberian Squill in bud. I don’t think you could eat any of them and besides, the first flowers are too precious.
    Happy Home-Making!

    Comment by wwjudith — April 17, 2005 #

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    Comment by Karyl — April 17, 2005 #

  3. I need to stop watching this journal.

    It’s making me hungry…

    And I have neither a kitchen, nor a fridge that is any good for keeping fresh veggies and such.

    Ever done any advertising work? Because your food pictures are excellent at making people want what’s in them…

    (Take two, spelled correctly this time…)

    Comment by Karyl — April 17, 2005 #

  4. Hi! I’m new here, but we know someone in common. I’m a high school friend of Amy’s.

    The ice cream sounds absolutely delicious. AS I was reading the recipe, the word that kept popping into my head, oddly, was “chinoise.” What the 18th century French might do with Chinese ice cream…

    Comment by Kris — April 17, 2005 #

  5. Oh, yes, Judith, violets are blooming here, along with forsythia, flowering quince, flowering almond, cherry, plum and crabapple. And daffodils, hyacinths, tulips–the whole shebang.

    Hey, Karyl–nice to meet you!

    Advertising–well, part of my “selling” ability comes from making lavish-looking buffet setups for catering and suchlike. I probably would make an evil foodstylist, now that I think on it. I was already good at it before culinary school, but after working with folks who had worked with Martha Stewart, I have to admit that I can throw down and pretty up food with the best of them.

    I would say I am sorry for torturing you, but really, I am happy that just photographs can stimulate hunger. Imagine what I could do if we could transmit scent over the net!

    Kris–welcome! So you know Amy? That is awesome–I miss working with her. We always had fun together.

    Creme Glace Chinoise sounds perfect for a name. I will have to edit this post and add that and credit you for it. Thank you!

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — April 17, 2005 #

  6. I’m not really a dessert person either but… oh oh oh!! I so want to have your apple galette with the lavender-ginger icecream. Nice work!


    P.S. Rats – only 20 minutes til dinner, I really don’t think there’s time to make the icecream for tonight!

    Comment by ejm — April 17, 2005 #

  7. Barbara:

    Amy and I went to high school, in fact. I miss her lots, and we finally got back in touch about a year or so ago.

    I’m planning to get out the ice cream maker and try some of that lovely Creme Glace Chinoise this week. *plots*

    Comment by Kris — April 18, 2005 #

  8. Kris–let me know how the ice cream goes for you!

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — April 18, 2005 #

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    Comment by trinity — September 3, 2005 #

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