Lilac ice cream. Candied lilacs.
It almost seems like once you’ve been drunk off springs first cherry blossoms that it’s easy to take the consequent lilacs for granted. With the craziness at the restaurant last year I made this mistake, and there was no way I was going to do it again. In fact, after our cherry blossom cream & candied lemon verbena leaves at The Willows Inn we were inspired to celebrate the season with the lovely lilac in ice cream with candied blossoms to top it off. I’m giddy to report that it was UH-MAY-ZING!
We tried a few different methods for candying the lilac blossoms, but really the only real winner is painted-on egg whites dusted with caster sugar. While it was the most time intensive I should also say that it was the most rewarding, and even therapeutic. Add together fragrant flowers, a delicate paint brush, silky egg whites, and crystally caster sugar and there’s no way you could not have a good time.
Ingredients, tools, and mise en place
- Fine tip paint-brush (made of food-grade materials or cleaned really well before use)
- Wax paper dusted with sugar
- 1 egg white slightly beaten, just until there is a collection of small bubbles at the top
- Lilac blossoms, pluck the individual flowers from the bunch selecting the best ones to be candied and leaving the rest for the ice cream
- Caster sugar in a shallow bowl or plate
- Optional: tweezers. (I quickly found the lilacs were sturdy enough for my fingers, so the tweezers may not be necessary for you either.)
1. Hold each flower by the stem and lightly paint the front and back of the petals with the egg white.
2. Dust each side with caster sugar, lightly shake off any excess
3. Set on the sugar-coated wax paper and let dry overnight. No cheating here! They must be completely dry before storing in a container with sugar.
– Only use blossoms that you know have not been sprayed…from your
– Only use egg whites if you’re comfortable with this method. We use local, organic, and untreated farm eggs that we love. Other candy methods include simple syrup in place of egg whites. If you’re more comfortable with this give it a go.
– Washing the blossoms was a difficult call. After some research we found some washed the flowers while others didn’t in order to preserve the fragrance. It’s your call.
Here’s a glance at our recipe for the ice cream. In addition to the lilacs we wanted to add as much springtime flavor as possible so we added an additional egg yolk and chose to use goat milk. It was a good call.
Be sure to read your ice cream machines instructions and adjust if needed.
Lilac Ice Cream
– 2 cups organic raw goat milk
– 1 cup organic heavy cream
– 5 organic egg yolks (initially we planned on 4, but 5 was better.)
– 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 4 cups lilac blossoms
– 1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
In a heavy saucepan mix the cream and goat milk thoroughly and add the lilac blossoms and maple syrup. Bring to a high simmer, but below a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for five minutes.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks and add the combined the sugar and arrowroot powder. Whisk until the color pales and the mixture is creamy.
Strain the lilacs from the milk and cream mixture and bring the liquid up to a simmer again. Temper the mixture by gradually adding it to the egg yolks. Batches of 1/3 worked well. Add the entire combined mixture back to your pot and gently heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat and strain again if needed (in the case you notice any gobules of fat that have formed). Chill the mixture for a few hours or until it is cold enough to add to your ice cream maker (my machine recommended 12 hours, but we didn’t need to wait quite that long).
From here, your ice cream maker takes over, so be sure to read the instructions.
One thing I can share is that once you see the consistency you like, don’t wait! Turn off the machine, sneak a taste or two, and freeze overnight (or as long as you can wait).
The ice cream is mildly fragrant with the lilacs and has a lovely, faint taste on the back-end. If you’re looking for a more punchy lilac flavor, that’s where the candied blossoms come in. I’d say aim for one or two in a bite, but also be sure to enjoy a few bites without.
Voila!! Lilac ice cream.
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