Brown Butter Ice Cream with Honey and Lavender

This ice cream is very, very rich. Even Paula Deen might start touting the virtues of moderation if you were to serve it to her. If that's not your thing, I guess you should have a fruit plate for dessert. That said, a little bit of this stuff goes a long way.

Brown Butter Ice Cream with Honey and Lavender

Adapted from The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook, by Alice Waters

Ingredients

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup honey. A raw, strong-flavored honey works best.
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Lavender salt
  • 4 or 5 lavender buds

Equipment

  • Ice cream maker

Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, and let it melt, stirring constantly. Eventually, it will stop foaming (all the water will have evaporated), and the butter will become clear, with a layer of white stuff on the bottom. That means the fat and milk solids have separated. Reduce the heat, and keep stirring, until the butter takes on a light, golden-brown color. 

Once this happens immediately (and very carefully, please) pour it into a heatproof bowl. If you leave it in the saucepan, it will continue cooking, and then burn.

Set the butter aside to cool.

Whisk together 3 cups of the the cream, the honey, the egg yolks, the lavender buds, and a heavy pinch of lavender salt.

Pour the mixture into a double boiler, and cook over very hot water, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the point where it coats the back of a spoon, and running your finger across the spoon leaves a clean line that holds its shape.

Pour the remaining cup of cream into a bowl, and place the bowl in an ice bath. Pour the ice cream mixture through a fine strainer, into the bowl with the remaining cream. Whisk in the melted butter, and let it come down to room temperature or colder in the ice bath. Cover the mixture, and refrigerate until it is completely chilled, at least 4 hours.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Serve topped with a pinch of lavender salt.