My friend Abi is not a Francophile, per se. She is an expert on French and Francophone culture, so much so that these days she spends a lot of time in France, finishing her dissertation. I often forget custard is French in origin, and I don’t know if pistachios and lavender are especially French, but it seems that way, doesn’t it?
Abi’s Lavender Pistachio
2 cups cream
2 cups milk
pinch of salt
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon dried lavender blossoms
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
½ cup pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped
Whisk to combine cream, 1 cup milk, sugar, vanilla extract, lavender, and salt in a medium pot. Heat over medium heat, whisking frequently, but don’t let it boil. When it is hot, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for thirty minutes.
Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl. It’s OK if there are some traces of egg white — no need to be a perfectionist — but try to minimize that. Place the remaining cup of milk at the bottom of a large bowl, and position a strainer on top.
Reheat the dairy mixture. When the dairy mixture is hot but not yet simmering (honestly, if it starts to simmer a little, you’ll be OK), remove from heat. Slowly ladle about a cup into the egg yolks, whisking with one hand while ladling with the other to temper the yolks.
Once complete, transfer the yolk mixture to the pot, and then return to medium heat. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom at times. Once the custard is thick enough to slightly coat the back of the spatula (another sign: you will start to notice that scraping the bottom of the pot encounters some solid residue), remove from heat and pour through the strainer into the milk.
Wash the whisk off. Once the base has strained, whisk the base until fully combined. Place the bowl in an ice bath to cool for thirty minutes (if you’re too lazy, it’s ok to just do this on the counter). Then, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least two hours before churning.
When chilled, process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add the pistachios when the ice cream is nearly complete. Freeze for eight hours.