Though Julie and Julia got more culinary attention, it was another Meryl Streep movie, It's Complicated, that really left me hungry for more. Meryl plays a chef and bakery owner, and the movie is filled with enough buttery croque monsieurs, rich chocolate cakes and flaky apple pies to make anyone's mouth water. And don't even get me started on the scene where she and Steve Martin sneak into the bakery after hours to make fresh chocolate croissants or I may have to run out and buy one right now. But there was one dish that stuck in my mind long after the movie was over. When Meryl's character can't sleep, she makes ice cream. And on one particular night she made a lavender and honey variety that I haven't been able to stop thinking about since. It didn't help that I spotted this at the Farmer's Market:
And this when I ducked in to Dean & Deluca to grab a coffee:
Clearly, it was a sign. So I did some late night ice cream making of my own, and the results were "incredible," as Alec Baldwin calls the movie version. This ice cream is sweet, herbal and totally delicious--and there's nothing complicated about that.
Lavender Honey Ice Cream
Adapted from Gourmet, via Epicurious
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers*
2/3 cup honey
2 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine cream, milk, honey and lavender in a heavy saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture is boiling, cover the pan, remove it from the heat, and let steep for about 30 minutes.
Pour the cream through a sieve to strain out the lavender. Discard lavender, and return the cream to the pan to reheat it. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and the salt. Add 1 cup of the hot cream to the eggs in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Pour the eggs into the saucepan of cream and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. (At this point, the custard should be about 170 degrees). Do not let the cream boil.
Pour the custard into a bowl and cool completely. Chill for a few hours, then process in an ice cream maker according to machine instructions.
*Edible lavender is available at Dean & Deluca and online at Penzeys.