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Vacherin glace with lavender ice cream

Time 3 hours
Yields Serves 8
Vacherin glace with lavender ice cream
(Los Angeles Times)

Ice cream

1

Bring the milk, cream, vanilla and half of the sugar to boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the lavender, turn off the heat and infuse for 1 minute.

2

In a separate bowl, combine the yolks and remaining sugar. Prepare a bowl of ice water; set an empty bowl on top of the ice water and place a strainer on top of the empty bowl.

3

Whisk about one-fourth of the milk-cream mixture into the yolk mixture, being careful not to cook or scramble the eggs. Bring the milk-cream mixture back to a boil and stir in the tempered yolk mixture. Cook, mixing continuously with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon, about 3 minutes. Strain the mixture into the empty bowl and chill about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

4

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. (Makes about 2 1/2 cups.)

Meringue drops

1

Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2

Combine the sugar and egg whites in the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, simmering water and whisk until the mixture is warm to the touch, about 5 minutes.

3

Place the mixture in an electric mixer and beat on high speed until stiff, but not dry, peaks form, 5 to 6 minutes. Place the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a medium-size round tip. Pipe 1-inch teardrops onto the baking sheet; you should have about 50.

4

Bake the meringues until hard but without color, about 3 hours. Let cool, then store the drops in an airtight container.

Assembly

1

Beat the cream and powdered sugar together until medium-stiff peaks form. Place in a pastry bag with a star tip.

2

Blend the raspberries, granulated sugar and lemon juice on high speed until smooth. Strain. Taste and add more sugar or lemon juice, if needed.

3

Place a scoop of lavender ice cream on each of 8 plates. Pipe the whipping cream entirely over each scoop to form a dome. Place the strawberries on top, alternating the strawberries with the meringue drops. Make a rim of raspberry coulis around the dome. Garnish with lavender sprigs. Serve immediately.

To get the same intense lavender flavor, it’s important to use edible lavender -- the kind you buy at specialty food shops, not florists -- and preferably from Provence, where the climate gives it a particularly deep flavor. When making the meringues, why haul out the mixer to whip up a few egg whites? It’s incredibly easy to accomplish with a balloon whisk. Just make sure the bowl is absolutely clean and dry.

S. Irene Virbila is a former restaurant critic and wine columnist for the Los Angeles Times. She left in 2015.
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