Last year, in fact almost a year ago to the day, David Lebovitz at www.davidlebovitz.com made a lemon verbena ice cream. Lemon verbena is MY fragrance. I love the smell and frequent L’Occitane where they have a whole line of verbena products. Well something possessed me and I really wanted to make this ice cream. But, I could NOT find a lemon verbena plant ANYWHERE in the city of Dallas or surrounding suburbs. The year before I had a couple of plants, but I have a very difficult time keeping them alive during the winter. So… I did what every desperate nut person would do. I bought some on ebay. One of the three plants survived.
Survived just for the day that I would defoliate it for this ice cream. Not a bad way to “go” in my opinion. I mean it’s only been 100 degrees plus for several days, so I do believe ice cream is in order.
Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
recipe by David Lebovitz
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh lemon verbena leaves, rinsed and dried
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
optional: a dried leaf of lemon verbena to crumble in the just churned ice cream, or a very finely chopped fresh leaf
In a medium saucepan, warm the lemon verbena leaves with the milk, 1/2 cup of the cream, and the sugar.
Once warm, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for one hour.
To make the ice cream custard, pour the remaining cream into a large bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water, and put a mesh strainer on top.
Use a strainer or slotted spoon to skim the lemon verbena from the milk and squeeze the leaves to extract as much liquid as possible back into the saucepan, then discard them. Rewarm the lemon verbena infusion, then whisk the eggs together and slowly pour in the warm infusion, whisking constantly.
Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan and cook, stirring continuously with a heatproof spatula, until the custard leaves a trail on the spatula when you drag your finger across it.
Immediately strain the custard into the bowl of cream. Stir until cool.
Chill thoroughly. Once chilled, stir in the dried or finely chopped leaf of verbena (I used the finely chopped fresh leaf) (I waited a year for this ice cream and I wasn’t waiting another day for a leaf to dry up. Then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
I have to say this was really delicious. It was creamy with a hint of the lemon verbena. But mostly it was COLD!