In our last post, we focused on delectable delights made with pansies. Today, let’s talk about a refreshing treat you can make out of gardenias.
All it takes is just one smell. As you pass a street-side flower shop, one whiff of this flower transports you to a bowered garden enrobing you in its pure, fresh and romantic smell, dew dripping of broad and glossy leaves, sunlight streaming through the branches. The wet grass crushed beneath your bare feet sends up their own offering of freshness. You look around – gardenias everywhere.
Gardenias are best known for its robust, white flowers and its distinctly refreshing aromatic smell. It has long been hailed as one of most iconic flowers of the Southern states in America, and has made its way into delicately-scented oils, soaps, and powders. In Floriography, Gardenias mean “you are lovely”, and are ideal flowers in wedding bouquets and boutonnieres.
Gardenia Ice Cream
Turn this magnificent bloom into something unexpected and refreshing – ice cream! You can serve this as a surprising treat at garden wedding parties, or as topping for pie a la mode in Spring. Just be mindful to not use too many petals, as the fragrance can become overpowering when overdone.
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 8 egg yolks
- ½ vanilla bean, opened up and seeded. (save the seeds for this recipe)
- ½- ¾ cup sugar, depending on desired level of sweetness
- Petals of 2-3 gardenias, washed well. Add a bit of baking soda to your wash water, as this will help remove traces of pesticides from your petals. Slice the petals after rinsing thoroughly.
Prepare the cream – in a heavy saucepan, add the cream, milk, vanilla bean and seeds, half of the sugar, and the chopped gardenia petals, and bring to a simmer. Stir the mixture to help melt the sugar. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let it sit to develop the flavors for 30 to 45 minutes.
Next, prepare the egg mixture. In a large bowl whisk together the 8 egg yolks and the remainder of the sugar until it become lighter in color.
TIP: If you want to to use a sugar-free substitute, you may use Splenda or Stevia.
Add 1/3 of the milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking thoroughly as you go. The whisking will prevent the egg from clotting. Afterwards, add all the egg mixture into the milk mixture. Reheat, keep whisking, and bring to a simmer – but not to a boil. Whisk and simmer the mixture for ten minutes.
Check for the desired texture – dip a wooden spoon into the mixture. It should stay lightly coated, and running a finger down it should leave a clear line in the custard – no runniness, and no clumping.
Remove the saucepan from heat, put in an ice bath, and stir every five minutes or so. When cooled, strain the mixture, and put it in in your fridge covered anywhere from several hours to overnight. Take out your ice cream maker, and freeze it to soft-serve consistency. Transfer to another container, and put it in your freezer. Serve.Tweet