I had bought a package of disappointing, wrinkly blueberries and so to salvage them, threw them into a pot with a drizzle of honey and warmed them until they popped, like cranberries do when you make cranberry sauce, turning a brilliant indigo. It made a big batch, so I spooned some over some lavender ice cream. Hello, summer. Pull up a chair.
I love to infuse things with lavender. Cream is the easiest – all you do is simmer it with a spoonful of lavender petals, as if you were making tea. This is a great way to make lavender panna cotta, or floral whipped cream – or homemade ice cream. If you really want to go all out, make lavender shortbread to serve on the side by blitzing a teaspoon of lavender along with the flour, sugar and butter (use any recipe – all shortbread is similar) in a food processor. The blueberry topping makes a perfect pairing, especially sweetened with honey. I like serving it warm over the cold ice cream.
Lavender Ice Cream
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup 18% coffee cream or half & half
1-2 tsp. dried lavender
1/2 cup sugar or 1/3 cup honey
Bring the creams to a simmer with a teaspoon or two of lavender. Take off the heat, stir and let steep for an hour or so, until the mixture cools. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl and chill until cold.
Stir in the sugar or honey and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. If you want it firmer, transfer to a container or bowl and put in the freezer until firm.
This simple fruit topping is fantastic on vanilla ice cream or pound cake, too – or blitz it with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt and milk to make brilliant blueberry milkshakes.
1 pint (2 cups) fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup honey, or to taste
Heat the berries and honey in a small pot set over medium-high heat; cook until the berries pop and the mixture looks saucy. Cool slightly and serve warm, or chill until cold. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.