Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lavender and Honey Parfait

Lavender is one of those flavors that scares people, and rightly so. Use too much, and your dessert ends up tasting like a bar of your Grandmother’s soap. But when it’s used correctly, lavender adds a subtle touch of summer-in-Provence and an unforgettable flavor. It’s a natural paired with honey and cream, as in this  

delicate frozen parfait, a French classic. I used a dried food-grade lavender (I got mine from, but you can also use fresh lavender from your garden. You can top the parfait with sliced strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries, but I think I like blueberries best. If you prefer, you can also freeze this

dessert in a plastic wrap-lined loaf pan. Just unmold it and serve it sliced with the berries on top.  

Lavender and Honey Parfait

Adapted from Kate Zuckerman’s recipe in The Sweet Life: Desserts From Chanterelle (Bulfinch Press, 2006)

Makes 8 servings

8 large egg yolks
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 ½ tablespoons dried lavender or 4 fresh stalks
Pinch of salt
3 cups heavy cream

1. Place the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk at medium speed. Simultaneously, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining ½ cup sugar, honey, ¼ cup water and lavender (if you are using fresh lavender, just use the flowers and leaves). Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cook over medium-high heat until it reaches 248°F. Pass the hot sugar syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup. Discard the lavender. With the mixer set on medium-high speed, quickly pour the hot syrup into the egg yolks in a continuous stream. Add the salt. Whisk the egg yolks until they become pale, have tripled in volume, and are just slightly warm.
2. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Scrape the whipped cream into the whipped yolks and fold in until well combined. Divide among 8 wine or serving glasses and freeze for at least 4 hours.

3. Once frozen, serve the parfaits topped with berries that have been macerated in sugar for 15 minutes (for blueberries, add a small amount of water or lemon juice, too). 
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