Lemon Lavender Ice Cream is not your everyday ice cream! This ice cream has an extra burst of lemon which compliments the floral notes from the lavender. It’s all wrapped up in a rich, luscious ice cream. The refreshing, botanical flavors are the result of this perfect marriage of Lemon and Lavender.
Is lavender and lemon a good combination? I first encountered the flavor combo of lemon and lavender years ago in the form of lemonade. It was refreshingly satisfying. It made me wonder how else this flavor combo could be served – enter Lemon Lavender Ice Cream. No – I did not invent this but I have perfected a way to take both flavors to the next level – keep reading to see how I do this!
- Heavy whipping cream.
- Milk: fresh, whole.
- Eggs: yolks only.
- Lemon: fresh, whole and preferably organic.
- Sugar: white, granulated.
- Baking soda.
- Lavender: mixture of fresh and dried.
Instructions How to Make Lemon Lavender Ice Cream
Remove the flower buds from the stems of the fresh lavender into a pot.
Add the dried lavender and milk to the pot.
Using a grater, take the zest off the lemon (yellow part, making sure not to include any of the white pith which is bitter.)
Squeeze the lemons once they have been zested.
Measure the quantity of juice and add the associated quantity of baking soda.
Add the baking soda to the lemon juice. It will immediately bubble.
After a few minutes the effervescence will disappear. The baking soda has neutralized the acid in the lemon juice.
Pour the neutralized lemon juice into the pot. Add the salt.
Put the pot over a medium heat and allow the milk mixture to warm on a low simmer for 15 minutes.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites and place the yolks in a bowl. Add the sugar and beat well for about 3-5 minutes.
Using a stick blender, blend the lavender infused milk until smooth.
Add the lavender infused milk very slowly to the beaten egg and sugar mixture, this is called tempering the eggs. By introducing heat to the eggs slowly, this will prevent them from scrambling.
Once all the milk has been added to the eggs, return the entire mixture, now called a custard, back to the pot and heat it to a temperature around 170 degrees F.
Add the cream to a bowl.
Pour the egg custard slowly into the cream. The cream helps to cool the custard.
Optional step is to add more fresh lavender buds to the egg custard to provide flecks in the ice cream.
Pour the cooled custard into an ice cream machine.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular ice cream machine.
Not all lavender is suitable for cooking and baking. According to All About Gardening, “there are over 45 species of lavender containing a vast diversity of some 450 unique varieties. Each type has its own growing preferences, uses, floral shape, and distinctive aroma.” So with all of this lavender available to us, which varieties can we use in the kitchen?
Use lavender from Lavandula angustifo variety. This is English Lavender, sometimes dubbed ‘true lavender’ it has the most fragrance. Types of English Lavender include Munstead, Royal Velvet, Colgate and Melissa.
I used fresh Royal Velvet, Folgate and dried Munstead. How do I know? I bought them at a Lavender Farm! If you have lavender growing in your garden or rockery, take it to a plant nursery specialist and have them tell you if it’s suitable for culinary purposes.
How to Add Lemon Juice to Milk Without Curdling
It’s a well known fact that that adding an acid like vinegar or lemon juice to milk will curdle it, especially if the milk is a little older or warm. This recipe relies on the milk being warm to coax out the flavor from the fresh and dried lavender buds, so adding lemon juice to it would result in the whole mixture curdling. The addition of the lemon juice heightens the lemon flavor along with the presence of the lemon zest.
So how can lemon juice be successfully added to milk? The scientific experts over at The Whole Portion recommend raising the pH of lemon juice to become neutral or close to neutral. Milk curdles at pH 4.6, so by adding baking soda (an alkali) to the lemon juice, the pH of the juice becomes near neutral. By neutralizing the juice, this means it can be added to the milk without fear of curdling.
The important ratio to use is:
For every tablespoon of lemon juice add 0.395g of baking soda.
I had 5 tablespoons of juice squeezed from 2 lemons, so I added 1.975g of baking soda.
Added bonus is the baking soda makes the ice cream creamier. That’s a win all round!
Flexibility with Ingredients
The type of lavender you use is entirely up to you, just make sure it is culinary lavender. It can be dried or fresh. There are benefits to both – dried lavender has a more intense flavor, fresh lavender provides that beautiful purple color when it is used to ‘fleck’ the ice cream. In my recipe I used both, simply because I had both.
Use bottled lemon juice if fresh lemons are unavailable. Unfortunately, the ice cream will not have a strong lemon flavor to balance the lavender taste, due to the lack of lemon zest.
If you don’t want to include the step of adding lemon juice and baking soda, that is fine, the result will be a slightly less creamy frozen custard and less lemon flavor. You can always just include lemon zest, which will not curdle the milk.
Lavender Ice Cream Recipe
Use this recipe as a base for Lavender Ice Cream. Simple follow all the steps but omit the lemon zest, juice and baking soda and steps 3-6 in the Instructions.
Lavender Lemon Curd Ice Cream Recipe
Another possibility with this recipe is to use lemon curd to substitute for the lemon juice and lemon zest to make Lavender Lemon Curd Ice Cream. Replace the lemon zest, lemon juice and baking soda with 10 oz of lemon curd and add it to the cream at the end of the recipe.
Flexibility with Instructions and Equipment
When making Lemon Lavender Ice Cream, the lavender and lemon zest in the custard were blended and incorporated. This did not affect the texture of the final results, but it did make the flavor of the ice cream more intense. If preferred, the custard can be passed through a fine sieve.
Lemon Lavender Ice Cream can be made without an ice cream machine. Refer to the ‘Flexibility with Equipment’ section in my Pumpkin Chai Ice Cream Recipe to see how this is done.
I used a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker in this recipe. However, it can be made in a Ninja Creami instead. Creami reverses the process of ice cream making. Instead of churning the ingredients and allowing them to freeze, you prepare the ice cream and freeze it for at least 24 hours. Then place it into a Ninja Creami to cream and fluff the frozen custard.
To make Lemon Lavender Ice Cream in the Ninja Creami, simply follow all of the steps to make the lavender infused custard and then pour it into the Creami pint and put the lid on. Place in on a flat surface in your freezer for 24 hours. Then take it out of the freezer and remove the lid from the pint. Insert the pint into the bowl of the Ninja Creami. Lock the lid and click the bowl into place. Select the ‘Ice Cream’ function and run it for around 2 minutes. When it is complete, unlock the bowl, remove the lid and enjoy.
When using the Ninja Creami, only 1 pint of ice cream can be made at a time. This Lemon Lavender Ice Cream recipe yields 1.5 pints, so the easiest way to have Ninja Creami success, is to make a half batch.
What are the Taste Notes of Lavender?
Culinary lavender can be used in sweet and savory dishes. As an ingredient in sweet dishes it offers citrus, and herbaceous notes. In savory dishes there is a presence of rosemary and mint flavors. This makes sense as the lavender plant is actually a member of the mint family.
Is Lavender a Scent or Flavor?
It is both really. Lavender has a very distinct smell. It’s floral, light and fresh. Its taste is often described as sweet, which might be why it works so well with lemon in this ice cream recipe. It also tastes herbal with some balsamic notes as an aftertaste. Some people find lavender to have a soapy taste.
What Flavors Compliment Lavender?
Lavender pairs well with fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, pears, lemon (as in this recipe), and orange. It also compliments the flavor of herbs such as sage, rosemary, oregano, and thyme. Lastly and most uniquely it pairs with honey, black pepper, and chocolate. What would you pair it with?
Uses for Lemon Lavender Ice Cream
My favorite way to use this ice cream is as a treat after a long day working in the yard / garden. Knowing this unique, homemade sweet treat awaits me, makes my weeding, and pruning time pass so much quicker!
It is a wonderful dinner party dessert served in a fancy glass. There’s no need to add any sauce, wafers or fruit. Simply garnish it with some loose lavender buds or candied lemon peel.
Kids might prefer it served as an ice cream sandwich. There’s really no wrong way to eat this ice cream!
A Tip From Me
A temperature range for making ice cream is 170 – 180 degrees F. The minimum temperature, as stated by the USDA, for foods containing eggs is 160 degrees F. Salmonella is killed at 160 degrees F. so make sure your digital thermometer reaches at least this temperature.
I’ve got answers – hopefully!
Lemon and lavender have completely different flavor profiles. Lemon provides clean fresh, citrus notes while the lavender provides more of a floral tone. They are a delicious, unique combo used in this ice cream.
Lemonade is the most obvious choice. Other considerations are lemon and lavender cookies, and of course lemon and lavender essential oils.
Lemon Lavender Ice Cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 2 lemons
- 4 oz granulated sugar
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 8 oz whole milk
- ½ tsp salt
- 1.975 g baking soda this is an approximate value. Refer to the ratio under 'How to Add Lemon Juice to Milk Without Curdling' for the exact quantity.
- 2 tbsp lavender fresh, dried or a combination of both.
- Add the lavender and milk to the pot.
- Zest the lemons using a grater, and add the zest to the pot.
- Squeeze the lemons once they have been zested. Collect the juice in a dish.
- Measure the quantity of juice and add the associated quantity of baking soda.Refer to the ratio under 'How to Add Lemon Juice to Milk Without Curdling' for the exact quantity.
- Add the baking soda to the lemon juice. It will immediately bubble. After a few minutes the effervescence will disappear.
- Pour the neutralized lemon juice into the pot. Add the salt.
- Put the pot over a medium heat and allow the milk mixture to warm on a low simmer for 15 minutes.
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites and place the yolks in a bowl. Add the sugar and beat well for about 3-5 minutes.
- After the lavender and lemon infused milk has simmered, blend it using a stick blender, until smooth.
- Add the lavender and lemon infused milk very slowly to the beaten egg and sugar mixture.
- Once all the milk has been added to the eggs, return the entire mixture, now called a custard, back to the pot and heat it to a temperature around 170 degrees F.
- Add the cream to a bowl. Pour the egg custard slowly into the cream. The cream helps to cool the custard.
- Optional step is to add more fresh lavender buds to the egg custard to provide flecks in the ice cream.
- Pour the cooled custard into an ice cream machine.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your particular ice cream machine.