Rose geranium by itself signifies “preference.” Paired with a pink rose petal, this delightful dish takes on the deeper symbolism of “a fondness for someone lovely and graceful.” With or without the petal garnish, this ice cream will send a sweet message. Rose geranium is not usually available in grocery stores, but try your nearby garden store or online ( www.linglesherbs.com ) for starter plants, which can be grown indoors any time of year. MAKES APPROXIMATELY 3 1/2 CUPS, OR SEVEN 1/2 CUP SERVINGS
• 1 1/2 cups whole milk
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
• 10 to 12 fresh rose geranium leaves, coarsely chopped
• 4 large egg yolks
• 3/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
• 6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• Pink rose petals (at least 7)
• Rose geranium leaves, whole (at least 7)
1. Bring milk, cream and geranium to simmer over medium heat. Turn off heat and steep about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, whisk eggs and sugar in bowl. Place white chocolate and vanilla extract in another bowl. Set aside.
3. Strain cream into egg mixture, pressing excess liquid from leaves. Whisk to combine. Pour into saucepan and cook over medium, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. Do not boil. Immediately remove from heat and strain into bowl containing chocolate and vanilla. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cover surface flush with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature.
4. Refrigerate until mixture reaches 40 to 45 degrees, about 3 hours, or place mixture in shallow bowl in freezer for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour chilled mixture into ice cream machine and churn following manufacturer’s instructions. (Many ice cream machines have bowls that must be thoroughly frozen first.) Mixture should churn to relatively stiff consistency within 30 minutes. For a firmer consistency, turn churned ice cream into a small chilled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and freeze another 1 to 2 hours before serving.
5. Serve in chilled dishes and garnish with rose petal and geranium leaf.
Julia M. Usher is a food writer, recipe designer and food stylist in St. Louis. Visit her at www.herbcompanion.com/contributors .
Click here for the main article, Herbal Desserts For Valentine's Day .
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