I don't really find most sweet dessert type things appealing anymore (especially pastry - blech), but I still have a soft spot for ice cream. I just love the stuff. There is a brand of ice cream I can find at Whole Foods that's made with coconut milk instead of dairy or soy, but the sweetener is agave syrup, which I won't eat due to the extremely high fructose content and heavy processing it undergoes. So now that the weather has been hot I have been making little ice cream treats at home. Last week I made some strawberry ice cream using this recipe from Elana's Pantry but subbing raw honey for agave. It was very nice. This week though, I got some lavender from my CSA and I decided to make a honey lavender ice cream. Forget "very nice," this stuff is AWESOME. And it's completely dairy and agave free! I've used a custard base for it, so it's a little more complicated to make than Elana's recipe, but the result is decadent. The base of this paleo ice cream would be very nice even without the lavender and could serve as a jumping off point for other mix-ins/flavorings.
COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM
honey/lavender/vanilla version :)
1 14-oz can full fat coconut milk
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
1 T chopped fresh lavender flowers, optional (1 tsp dried)
3 T raw honey (adjust up or down to taste, but less honey will make it freeze much harder in the freezer)
ice cream maker
Set up a double boiler by placing a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water (be sure it's simmering and not a full rolling boil, as this will give you better control later). Add the coconut milk and lavender to the bowl. Scrape the insides of the vanilla bean into the coconut milk, then throw in the whole bean pod as well. Stirring fairly frequently, heat until the coconut milk is hot but not boiling.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs well in a separate bowl. Once the coconut milk is hot, add a ladleful to the eggs while you're whisking - you want to bring the eggs up to the temperature of the coconut milk without scrambling them. Add in another ladleful of hot coconut milk to the egg mixture while whisking. Take the now hot egg mixture and whisk it into the bowl of coconut milk on the double boiler.
Now, whisk constantly until the mixture thickens to a custard. This may take several minutes. If it's getting too hot and starting to scramble, remove from the heat immediately but keep whisking, then return it to the double boiler. Once it has thickened to a custard, remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool.
Remove the vanilla bean pods. Once the custard is cool enough for you to stick your finger in it and hold it there without burning, whisk in the raw honey. Put the custard base in the refrigerator or freezer until it gets cold. Freeze in your ice cream machine per the manufacturer's instructions.
Straight out of the machine this ice cream has a creamy soft serve texture. If you store it in the freezer for later, just let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before eating to let it soften up a little bit.