A Story of Lavender And Currants — Histoire de lavande et de groseilles

lavender ice cream

Groseilles rouges — Red currants

Glace à la lavande — Lavender Ice cream

We all know and experience feelings of Deprivation at times. In French, called le manque or la privation.

Sometimes it can be small and sometimes it feels huge like a mountain!

I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me an interesting story. Although he enjoys camping a lot, every time he returns from a camping trip where he has been ‘deprived’ of what a comfortable civilized life provides, he has an urge to buy stuff. And he is not even of the consumer-type.

Où nous mène le manque ? (Where does the feeling of deprivation take us to?)

This is exactly how I feel when I go to vegetable markets — amongst other things — , and find vegetables or fruit I have been waiting for, for quite a while. Back from one of my local markets last week, I found myself filling that deprivation feeling, and bought so many fresh berries that it meant that I would be cooking comme une folle (like a mad woman) for days! You see, back in May, I had already called them to ask whether they carried des groseilles, red currants.

“Not before June. Call us back then!”
is what they told me then.

So, the month of June came, and with it, I had almost forgotten about my groseilles. Until my trip to visit the market last week. Not only did they have my precious red currants, but they also had white currants (des groseilles blanches) and yellow raspberries (des framboises jaunes). Fruit of that kind don’t keep for long, we all know this. I had to think about recipes fast.

Framboises jaunes — Yellow Raspberries

Groseilles blanches — White currants

I actually did not feel like baking, or making jams. It is just way too hot here these days. Instead, I set my mind for simple desserts that involved a lot of fresh fruit salads infused in syrup, fruit soups, and a homemade lavender icecream. I will be talking about all of those in my coming posts, so let’s start with recipe #1 in the series of How To Use Fresh Currants.

La glace à la lavande et sa salade de fruits
(Lavender Icecream and its Fruit Salad)

When you do not live in Provence, there are still ways to feel as if you lived close to those beautiful purple-looking fields full of this fragrant flower, la lavande. I often wish that I could travel through le Lubéron, in Provence, whenever I want! Two years ago, my parents, P and I had decided to meet in le Lubéron instead of my home village. We rented an adorable house in St Martin de Castillon, a small village provençal.

St Martin de Castillon, Lubéron

For a week, we enjoyed visits to local fresh produce markets, walks in the area — including the Canyon du Lubéron and its Colorado provençal (yes the French want to think they have a Grand Canyon too, but to tell the truth, since I already hiked the American Grand Canyon, all I can say is that the French is way much smaller!),

Canyon du Lubéron, Colorado provençal

— a visit to the beautiful city of Avignon, and the crème de la crème for the cook in me, the purchase of lavender flowers that I managed to sneak in my bag, with the hope that the customs sniffing dogs would not come close to it, to show that I was a culprit. Snif snif, here, snif snif…the dog stopping and sitting down looking at me….she has something! Master, look! Since then, I have actually found out that I can purchase lavender seeds here in the US. In Boston as an example, I bought mine at Formaggio, a great place to find all sorts of imported foods.

Fleurs de lavande et sirop aux groseilles — Lavender Flowers and Red Currant Syrup

Using culinary lavender is fairly easy. For the ice cream, I decided to infuse the milk with lavender flowers, and it worked as a charm. I used the same method to make the lavender-flavored syrup, with the addition of red currant purée. I particularly liked that I did not use egg yolks for the ice cream. Maybe I could try variants next time. I did a few batches and also tried different types of sugar. The first one I used was a fine blond sugar while the second one was darker and more granular. Both gave satisfying results. Once the ice cream is made, the ideas on how to serve it abound. Nature (plain), or with fruits, such as in the recipe that follows.

Both P. and I enjoyed it a lot, and I am not even too much of an ice cream person. Suffice to say that it did not replace a trip to the Lubéron, but we were pretty happy all the same. Little things can make us content.

Note: for more ideas on how to use all kinds of seasonal and unusual berries, along with lavender, check out some of my favorite food bloggers’ ideas here with L, and here with Anita. They are on my to-try-list.

Lavender Ice Cream

You need:

  • 2 Tbsp lavender flowers
  • 4 + 1/4 cups milk*
  • 1 + 1/8 cups heavy cream
  • 10.5 oz fine sugar

*I used 2% milk


Steps:

  • Mix together the sugar and the milk in a pot, and bring to boil.
  • Remove from the heat and add the lavender flowers.
  • Let infuse covered for a min. of 8 hours, overnight if you can.
  • Filter the milk.
  • Whip your cream firm, into chantilly, and add it carefully to the lavender milk.
  • Place in your ice cream maker and use according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Place in the freezer until ready to use.

For the fruit salad and its syrup

You need:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 oz + 1 Tbsp fine sugar
  • 7 oz red currants
  • 1 tsp lavender flowers
  • Yellow raspberries and red currants (3 oz per person, or according to your taste)
  • 1/2 lemon for its juice
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar

Steps:

  • To make the syrup with red currants, mix together the water and sugar, and bring to a boil.
  • Remove from the heat and add 1 tsp lavender flowers.
  • Let infuse and cool down.
  • Filter.
  • Mix the red currants into a purée, and use a sieve or a chinois to remove the seeds.
  • Add this purée to the cool syrup, and mix well.
  • Wash your fruit.
  • Mix with the lemon and sugar.
  • Add the fruit to the syrup.
  • Serve this fruit salad with a few lavender icecream scoops.
Le coin français
Glace à la lavande

Ingrédients :

  • 2 càs de fleurs de lavande (les graines)
  • 1 l de lait
  • 250 ml de crème liquide
  • 300 g de sucre en poudre


Étapes :

  • Mélangez le sucre et le lait dans une casserole, et faites bouillir.
  • Retirez-la du feu, et ajoutez les fleurs de lavande.
  • Laissez infuser la lavande dans le lait, à couvert, pendant au moins 8 heures, ou mieux, toute la nuit.
  • Filtrez le lait.
  • Montez la crème en chantilly, et ajoutez-la au lait parfume a la lavande.
  • Faites prendre en sorbetière, en suivant les instructions du fabricant.
  • Mettez au congélateur, jusqu’au moment de servir.

Pour la salade de fruits et le sirop

Ingrédients :

  • 125 cl d’eau
  • 60 g de sucre
  • 200 g de groseilles rouges
  • 1 càc de fleurs de lavande
  • Framboises jaunes et groseilles (80 g par personne, ou selon votre goût)
  • 1/2 citron pour son jus
  • 2 ou 3 càs de sucre glace

Étapes :

  • Pour faire le sirop aux groseilles rouges, faites bouillir 125 cl d’eau avec 60 g de sucre.
  • Retirez du feu et ajoutez 1 càc de fleurs de lavande.
  • Laissez infuser et refroidir.
  • Filtrez.
  • Mixez 200 g de groseilles rouges en purée, et passez cette purée au tamis, pour retirer les pépins.
  • Ajoutez la purée au sirop refroidi, et mélangez bien.
  • Lavez vos fruits rouges (framboises jaunes et groseilles).
  • Citronnez et saupoudrez-les de sucre glace.
  • Mélangez les fruits avec le sirop.
  • Servez cette salade de fruits avec quelques boules de glace à la lavande.
Posted in Dessert, French Inspired, Fruit, Gluten Free | 46 Comments

46 comments

  1. Tiens c’est une nouvelle façon de faire la glace, sans oeufs, c’est très intéressant, je me demande comment est le résultat sûrement ultra léger encore une recette à tester!

  2. Beautiful Béa! Just Beautiful!!
    I’m hoping I can find a source for a white currant bush here in New Zealand as I keep seeing them crop up in recipes and they’re so very pretty! Unfortunately I’ve never seen them here before, I would adore one for the garden.

  3. Oh Bea your photographs and recipes are always inspired!
    You are so lucky to have access to such wonderful and exotic produce. I don’t think I have ever ran into yellow raspberries or white currants before at our markets. But hopefully someday we can have such a magnificent range!

  4. ooooh! That looks so good! My in-laws-to-be have a their whole back fence lined with groseilles. Most of them are red but there are ones they call “white”. However they don’t look like yours. They’re pink! I do love them and they are much milder and sweeter than the red. Is this true of the flavour of the whites as well?

  5. Quelles superbes photos! pour la glace à la lavande je vais attendre les graines des lavandes de mon jardin pour tester.

  6. Je n’ai qu’une seule envie, croquer dans la grappe de groseilles, heureusement j’en ai un peu à la maison.

    Si tu voulais nous donner envie, c’est une réussite.

  7. Great idea Béa, I’m going to make this, since I have tons of lavender and use it to make lavender sugar, lavender milk, and lavender creme bruleés all the time! You give me inspiration!! Merci

  8. La glace à la lavande était à mon programme d’essais avec ma sorbetière flambante neuve, et bien voilà j’ai même de quoi l’accompagner à présent ! Merci again !

  9. Canyon du Lubéron, Colorado provençal maybe way much smaller but no less beautiful!
    The fruits & photos are awesome – spectacular – edible art – really really good.
    I really enjoy my ice cream maker but I’ve never done this “fancy” sugar and cook stuff – I guess I just do frozen fruit yogurt, and I’m very happy with that. But, wow this lavender ice cream looks really lovely. You say to strain it. The top picture looks like maybe you put some of the blossoms back in or on it for effect, is that right?

  10. Ah Bea, yet another post chock-full of tempting recipes and gorgeous photos that just make me want to jump on the first plane south… We were camping in the Luberon some years ago – it is indeed a magical, irresistible place.

  11. Béa,

    I could read your history forever! Beautiful … and I love how you used both the red and white currants. We have red currant bushes but we can only get white ones at the market.

  12. arrrgggg! Why didn’t I find you before I left a few weeks ago…could’ve given me some pointers over a coffay or something :D Nice to find a fellow Bostoninan foodblogger…btw…love your pix!

  13. Mmmmmm… delicious and refreshing. Your photos are gorgeous Bea! I saw an article in my local magazine about lavender ice cream that was equally tempting! It must be a sign… indeed! :-)

  14. beautiful, i’ve never tasted yellow raspberries before. just today i went to copley market and bought (and ate on the spot) a beautiful pint of red raspberries and a pouch of lavender. i’ve been thinking about how i’m going to use the lavender. =) lavender icecream sounds lovely

  15. le manque et le plaisir de l’assouvir… tout à fait ça, et surtout de cette manière! la lavande me rappelle ma Drôme natale! je n’ai pas de sorbetière mais je me régale de tes photos toujours aussi sublimes!

  16. that village looks so lovely. it’s so nice when you can find a little paradise somewhere unexpected. it’s good to meet family in new locations too, that way everyone can share the holiday spirit. i love your photos too.

  17. You’ve inspired me to take my husband to the market today. I have that same feeling of crazed, urgent inspiration almost any time I go to a farmer’s market.

    Et en plus, ça me faire de bien de trouver un blog de cuisine en français — même un petit peu en français.

    I agree with everyone who has praised your food photos – marvelous! How do you do it?

  18. Bea, tu ne croiras pas mais j’ai fait plein de sirops aujourd’hui. Et je prévoyais les servir avec des fruits ce soir. Le sirop à la lavande, je l’ai essayé l’an dernier et c’est fabuleux. Tout comme la glace à la lavande que j’adore.

    Et tes photos sont à tomber. Merci pour ce billet généreux et coloré et plein de goût et…

    Tarzile

  19. bravo, je reste toujours surpris par la qualité des photos et du reste bien sur. Mais que les photos sont belles….

  20. Yum! I love currants and find that they aren’t as readily available here as they are in Europe. I’m going to look for them at the market the next time I go! Beautiful photos!

  21. oh, bea – once again you have made me long for france – so beautiful.
    it is about 120 degrees here (80 degrees just in my house!)and your photographs almost made me forget, they are so refreshing! yellow raspberries – wow! wonderful, as ever. :)

  22. Merci à tous pour vos commentaires. Essayez cette glace, elle est facile et franchement parfumée.

    Thanks to all for your comments. Try this ice cream, it is easy and very fragrant!

  23. Je voulais justement en faire une à la lavande, je vais essayer ta recette. Trop belles tes framboises, la couleur est extraordinaire. Ta photo est renversante. Le goût est-il différent ?

  24. Tanna, btw, I meant to add, yes the added lavender seeds were for the pic! ;-)

    Merci Sophie et Peggy!

  25. ah…you’re really taking me back to my childhood with the currants. And lavender ice cream – you’re killing me. And I don’t even have a sweet tooth!

  26. i took a blog reading break and now i regret it! looks absolutely stunning and i’m rather curious about ice cream sans oeufs. texture still very similar? i’d imagine the whipping cream would still maintain the usual richness.

  27. Ah yes Catherine, I imagine England full of great berries. I actually love any berry desserts, anytime I travelled to GB!

    vanessa, it is actually quite light. I prefer it to regular ice-cream, to be honest. And you are right, the richness stays with the cream, so no need for whole milk, 2% worked for me. Hope you like it if you try. I think this could do with a lot of other flavors, which I want to try.

  28. Et oui, il y a un colorado dans le Sud. Connais tu le village de Roussillon ? Les ocres présents illuminent le regard et motifient notre perception des couleurs et notamment du vert …

  29. Bea,
    The lavender ice cream looks delightful! I know what to do with the rest of my lavender now…

  30. Bonjour,

    I have a lot of lavender in my garden (Savoie), but how do I know if I can eat them or not? I am curious to try out your recipe.

  31. Fabienne, oui je suis allee a Roussillon. Superbe pour les ocres, comme tu dis!

    Anita, indeed, new ideas

    Isis, Je ne suis pas sure. Peut-etre que si tu la ramenes dans une pharmacie, ils pourraient t’aider ? La mienne a ete achetee, alors c’etait indique, lavande culinaire. Bonne chance !

  32. Merci, et bonne idee. J’y vais demain. And if I can use them will try out some lavender recipes, including your ice cream.

  33. Bonjour de nouveau.
    I went to the pharmacie, and yes we can eat the lavender we grow in our garden, as long as it is not sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals. The lady suggested I only use the little flowers but your picture shows the seeds. So am I rigth in assuming I can use both. I feel challenged, but I do like challenges.

  34. Thank you for publishing such a beautiful and delicious entry! From beginning to end I found myself captivated. Your photographs are stunning!

  35. Isis, great news, I am pleased. Good luck!

    Thalie, merci!

    Kristen, thanks a lot for your very nice note!

  36. Thank you for the inspiration. I am referring to subject, writing and photographs!

  37. Pingback: Summer fruit papillotes with lavender ice cream — Papillotes de fruits d’été et glace à la lavande | La Tartine Gourmande

  38. Wow lavender ice cream!! That one I will definitely try, I love lavender. It must be great living in France you can buy all the lavender you want from lokal farmers. I like the yellow raspberries too :)

  39. I’m so glad you published the recipe for lavender ice cream without eggs! I do have a question: do you think lavender honey could be used in place of the 300g of fine sugar? If so, how much would you use? Thank you.

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