I recently found out that peonies are edible. I have a peony plant which happened to be in luxurious full bloom last week (why does their season have to be so painfully short?!)…seemed like perfect timing to use the petals in a recipe.
As soon as I started gathering the peony blossoms, I discovered that one of my rose bushes was coming to life, as well. Since rose petals are also edible, I thought I’d try combining the flavor of both flowers in a peony and rose petal ice cream.
I LOVED this ice cream. The floral notes are subtle so you could definitely play around with the amount of petals you infuse, but I used rosewater to boost the flavor and I was happy with the result. Make sure to taste the custard as you are mixing in the rosewater to determine how much, if any, you want to add. I used a Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Ice Cream Maker and as is always the case with this machine, the ice cream was a pretty soft initially; letting it stand in the machine before serving (or placing it in the freezer for a while) makes it much firmer.
Recipe for Peony and Rose Petal Ice Cream
Adapted from Dabblings and Whimsey.
*2 cups organic whole milk (I used raw milk)
*2 cups organic heavy cream (preferably raw cream)
*3/4 cup organic sugar (or try it with raw honey)
*very clean petals from 4 peonies (I used white peonies); make sure they have not been sprayed with chemicals
*very clean petals from 4-6 roses; make sure they have not been sprayed with chemicals
*2-4 teaspoons rose water, or less/more to taste- optional
*4 egg yolks, preferably from farm-fresh, pastured chickens
1. Heat the milk with the cream and the sugar. Remove from heat before it comes to a boil, add the flower petals, and cover. Allow to infuse for 1-2 hours.
2. Pour the infused liquid through a strainer into a bowl, squeezing out the petals to extract all of their flavor. Compost or discard the flower petals. Reheat the milk/cream mixture over medium heat to just before boiling, then set it aside.
3. Beat the egg yolks with a fork or wire whisk. Slowly pour 1 cup of the the warmed, infused milk/cream into the egg yolks; whisk constantly while you do this so that the egg yolks don’t cook.
4. Pour the tempered eggs back in with the rest of the milk/cream and place over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pan as you do so, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon (this will take several minutes).
5. Remove from the heat immediately and pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer. Stir the custard thoroughly, transfer to an appropriate container, then cover and chill completely in the refrigerator (overnight is best) before proceeding to make ice cream according to your manufacturer’s instructions.