Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

Lemon verbena ice-cream, lemon verbena ice cream
Lemon verbena ice cream

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.

Lemon verbena ice-cream, lemon verbena ice cream
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.

Equipment

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)

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Lemon verbena ice cream, lemon verbena ice-cream

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Ice-cream
  • Cuisine: English

Description

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.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl until the mixture looks paler and resembles a mousse.
  2. 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!
  3. 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!
  4. Pour the infused cream into the bowl containing the egg yolks and sugar, whisking all the time.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Notes

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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Lemon Biscuits

Lemon shortbread
Lemon Biscuits

Lemon Biscuits

These Lemon Biscuits are very quick and easy to make and also very versatile.  They are made of lovely buttery shortbread, flavoured with zesty lemon, and the addition of ground almonds keeps them moist and gives them a lovely crumbly texture.

I tend to make mine heart-shaped (if you look at the rest of my blog you will see that I love heart-shaped food) as I think hearts are pretty!  However, round is fine – or any other shape you like.   They are great biscuits to make with children, as they are very straight-forward, so if you want to get creative (and have the right kind of cookie cutters) you could go for flowers or rabbits or trains or whatever takes your fancy!

These biscuits are excellent as an accompaniment to ice-cream – I particularly like them with my Elderflower Ice-cream – but they are also great with morning coffee or afternoon tea.    I think they would also make a good edible gift for a birthday or Mothers’ Day.

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Lemon shortbread

Lemon Biscuits

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 30 biscuits 1x
  • Category: Biscuits
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Crisp, buttery and zesty,  these Lemon Biscuits make a fantastic accompaniment to ice-cream or sorbet but are also great with a cup of tea!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 225 g butter
  • 85 g caster sugar
  • 275 g plain flour
  • 25 g ground almonds
  • Zest of one lemon
  • A little extra caster sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 200 degrees C/gas mark 6.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the flour, ground almonds and lemon zest and combine to form a soft dough.
  4. Gently roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut into shapes using a cookie cutter.  I tend to make them either heart-shaped or round or  any shape you like!
  5. Place the dough shapes on a lightly floured baking tray.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes until firm and golden.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking tray for five minutes or so. If you wish, sprinkle each biscuit with a little caster sugar while it is still warm.
  8. Transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Keywords: lemon biscuits

Lemon shortbread
Lemon Biscuits

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Elderflower Ice-cream

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Elderflower and Lemon Cupcakes

Elderflower
Elderflower and lemon cupcakes

Elderflower and Lemon Cupcakes

Over the past few years, elderflower has become a very popular flavouring for all kinds of cakes and desserts.  The flavour choice for these Elderflower Cupcakes was inspired by the cake at a recent  high profile wedding (congratulations Harry and Meghan).

I made these Elderflower Cupcakes at the request of my daughter for her to share with her biology class.  Each week a member of the class brings in cakes to share – school doesn’t sound so bad nowadays – and she specifically asked me not to make cakes with an unusual flavour.  Her exact words were “don’t make the flavour too ‘out there’, mum”.    After a focused discussion, during which various flavours were discounted –  lilac? (No), Lady Grey tea? (No!),  dandelion? (Seriously?!!) – we agreed on elderflower.

Although I love elderflower and use it in desserts regularly, this was the first time I had tried it in Elderflower Cupcakes.  I am not really a big cupcake maker!  I made two batches – one with just elderflower and one with elderflower and lemon.  When I tasted them, I understood immediately why it is usual to include lemon as an additional flavouring.  The cupcakes made just with elderflower were far too sweet for my taste but those made with elderflower and lemon were just right – floral but zesty!

Elderflower and lemon cupcakes
Cupcake cases – nearly all filled!
Equipment

2 x cupcake trays; 24 cupcake papers, mixing bowl

Elderflower
Elderflower and lemon cupcakes
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Elderflower

Elderflower and Lemon Cupcakes

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cakes 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These scrumptious little cakes, flavoured with elderflower and lemon, are a perfect addition to afternoon tea!


Scale

Ingredients

For the cakes:

  • 250 g butter
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 250 g self-raising flour
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbs elderflower cordial

For the icing:


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 200 degrees C/gas mark 6.
  2. Put your cupcake papers into your cupcake trays.
  3. Make the cake batter by creaming together the 250 g butter with the 250 g sugar.   Add the eggs gradually to ensure the mixture does not curdle.  Then add the 250 g self-raising flour.
  4. Add the grated lemon zest and the 4 tbs of cordial to the mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Put a dessert spoon of the cake mixture into each of the cupcake papers.
  6. Put your cupcake trays into the oven and cook for around 15 minutes.  The cakes will be done when they are golden brown and springy to the touch.
  7. Remove the cupcakes from the trays and put on a rack to cool.
  8. Make the icing by putting the 500g icing sugar, 250 g butter, lemon juice and 3 tbs elderflower cordial in a mixing bowl and beating until they form a pale, smooth icing.   Ice the cooled cupcakes and decorate as you wish!

Keywords: elderflower and lemon cake, elderflower cupcakes

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