I have a little rose geranium plant in my garden, and I've been looking for a chance to use it all summer. And now, this is it. A delicately fragrant, rose-scented ice cream studded with salty green pistachios.
This is a simple, eggless ice cream based on Jeni Britton's method. It's very easy, and it comes out deliciously creamy. I steeped the mix overnight with rose geranium leaves, and added just one teaspoon of rosewater for a little extra rose flavor. And yes, folks, I added just two drops of pink food coloring. I just couldn't resist.
Rose Geranium Ice Cream with Pistachios
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rosewater
2 drops pink or red food coloring (optional)
12 rose geranium leaves
1 1/2 cups shelled roasted, salted pistachios
In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. Mix thoroughly so the cornstarch doesn't clump up. In another large bowl, whip the cream cheese until smooth.
In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar and honeyp. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir to make sure all the sugar dissolves. Keep a close eye on it; you may need to pull the mixture half off the burner so it doesn't boil over.
Take the milk mixture off the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute — no more. Turn off the heat.
Whisk a ladle of hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour it back into the pot and whisk. Whisk in the salt, and rosewater. If using food coloring whisk it in now. Place the 12 rose geranium leaves in a container and pour the mix over them. Chill completely — overnight, ideally.
After the mix is thoroughly chilled, remove leaves and freeze the mix in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions. Scrape out the ice cream into a freezer-safe container. Place plastic wrap over it so the surface is covered completely and not exposed to air. Freeze for 2 to 4 hours, or overnight, before serving.
(Images: Faith Durand)