Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
My Lemon Verbena Ice Cream is a great way of showcasing the unique taste of this herb. In addition to the taste of lemon, it also has additional subtle notes of ginger which make it an excellent flavouring for ice cream. As lemon verbena may be hard to source, I have also included the option in the recipe of using grated lemon zest as an alternative flavouring. This will make an excellent ice-cream but the taste will be different.
About Lemon Verbena
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora) is a small shrub, native to western South America. It was was brought to Europe by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 17th century. Its leaves have a strong lemon scent with other flavour notes, in particular ginger. They can be used to produce flavoured oil and herbal tea. Lemon verbena can be used to bring a lemon flavour to savoury meat and fish dishes and marinades. It can also be used in sweet dishes such as puddings, cakes, sorbets and, of course, Lemon Verbena Ice Cream.
Grow your own!
Adding fresh herbs to a dish is such a quick and easy way of transforming it into something special. Once you get to know the different flavours, there is endless potential for experimentation. You will get to know which herbs you prefer, which go well with each other and which ones enhance particular dishes.
I am a great advocate for growing your own herbs. They take up little space and can be grown in pots on a window ledge or balcony if you do not have a garden. Most of them are also very easy to grow. If you grow your own, you will have access to a much wider range of flavours as, unfortunately, it is hard to find more unusual herbs in the supermarkets.
Sourcing lemon verbena
If you want to grow your own herbs, including lemon verbena, there are a number of specialist herb nurseries, which will provide herbs by mail order, including Herbal Haven where I bought a number of my more unusual herbs.
Whisk and bowl. This recipe is a breeze using an but you can still make it if you don’t have one (see instructions under point 8 of Method)Print
This ice cream showcases the subtle herbal flavour of lemon verbena which has additional notes of ginger in addition to lemon. As it may be hard to source lemon verbena, I have included an alternative using lemon zest. This is a good, but different, ice-cream.
- 4 egg yolks
- 85 g caster sugar
- 425 ml double cream
- 2 tablespoons of very finely chopped fresh lemon verbena leaves (or the grated zest of one unwaxed lemon)
- Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl until the mixture looks paler and resembles a mousse.
- Put the cream and chopped fresh lemon verbena leaves (or grated lemon zest) in a saucepan and heat gently. Do not allow to boil – it will be the right temperature when you are just about able to bear to dip a finger in it!
- Remove the saucepan containing the cream and lemon verbena (or grated lemon zest) from the heat. At this stage you can strain the cream to remove all the pieces of lemon verbena leaf (or grated lemon zest). I generally don’t strain the chopped herbs out as I like them distributed through the ice-cream but I know some people prefer a totally smooth ice-cream with just the flavour. If you are going to leave the pieces in the ice-cream, you need to make sure that the leaves are very finely chopped – no one wants huge fragments of leaf in their pudding!
- Pour the infused cream into the bowl containing the egg yolks and sugar, whisking all the time.
- Transfer the combined mixture into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or, ideally a double-boiler, as you need to reheat it very gently.
- The mixture will gradually thicken until it looks like a custard (which is what it is). Stir regularly to make sure it does not stick while it is thickening.
- Remove the thick custard from the heat and transfer into a bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to become thoroughly chilled.
- When you are ready to make the ice cream, transfer to your ice cream maker and use according to your machine’s instructions. If you do not have an ice cream maker, you can place the mixture in a freezer-proof container, put in the freezer for several hours until half-frozen. Whisk the mixture and then return to the container and replace in the freezer until totally frozen.
Although the preparation time and cook time totals 20 minutes you will need to allow additional time for the ice cream mixture to become completely cold before you freeze it.
You can make this ice cream either using lemon verbena or the zest of a lemon. Both will taste lemony (and very good!) but the taste will be different – a subtle soft herbal lemon flavour with hints of ginger – if you are using lemon verbena. If you can get hold of it, it is really worth a try!
Keywords: lemon, lemon verbena, ice cream, lemon verbena ice cream, lemon verbena ice-cream
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