This is our absolute F A V O R I T E ice cream.
The sweet story behind it begins with a special delivery from my ingredient pen pal, Heather. Heather is the pastry chef at Hungry Mother in Cambridge, MA and we, coincidentally, knew each other in college, parted to out preferred coasts after graduation, and ended up walking the same magical path towards pastry chef-dom sometime not too long after. This was a surprise to us both, but a fabulous one at that, and one that has inspired a little exchange of our favorite local, and carefully acquired, ingredients as well as a lovely exchange of ideas, recipes, trends and general love for our craft. I love it.
In one of her first packages, Heather sent me stone ground chocolates from local Taza, as well as a gorgeous jar of Carlisle Honey. Harvested at the peak of summer, this wildflower honey was a deep amber, rich in flavor, and begging to be showcased in something really special.
This ice cream can be all things to all honey lovers because the finished product will take on the flavor of the specific honey you choose to use. This being said, I think that its best if you pick a premium, wildflower honey to round out the speckled vanilla that make the recipe distinct.
I usually purchase my vanilla beans from the Blue Sky Coffee Farm in Kona, Hawaii where they specially package tahitian vanilla beans for their customers. They are the most plump and vanilla-y I have ever had the pleasure to split.
Add germicidal properties, easy digestibility, and immunity boosting to the hypnotic color, flavor, and honey is a sneakily nutritious ingredient. You’ll note that this recipe doesn’t contain any eggs or additional sugar. Rather, the honey helps to set up the milk/cream mixture.
- 2 plump vanilla beans
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 1/2 cup half & half
- 1 cup whole milk
- scant 3/4 cup honey
- (**you could use only heavy cream instead of both the cream and half & half but this ratio rendered a very nice, smooth cream, sparing just a bit of fat.)
- Measure out the milks + creams and place in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan.
- Place the vanilla beans on a cutting board. One at a time, holding the very end of the bean, use the tip of a paring knife pointing away from you, to slice the bean down the middle. Scrape out the seeds and place them, and the pods, into the cream/milks.
- Add the honey and stir just a bit to distribute.
- Over medium/low heat, bring the milk mixture to barely simmer, stirring occasionally and watching your heat. When little bubbles start to appear around the edges of the milk, and the honey has appeared to have dissolved (about 4 minutes into heating) its done!
- Remove the mixture from the heat, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to steep for one hour.
- After the steeping, transfer the mixture to a shallower container to cool completely. This is VERY important!
- Once cool, transfer the honey ice cream mixture to your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions. In my maker, this was about 30 minutes, until a nice, thick, even cream developed.
- For best texture and minimal melting, transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container and freeze for at least 1 hour before serving. I won’t lie - we transfered some to chill and ate the rest. A W E S O M E !