A few months ago, I took a trip with my boyfriend to Napa & Sonoma. It was quite an amazing trip (he turned out to be not so amazing but that's an entirely different story) & I tasted some amazing wines, but the one standout taste-bud experience for me was the lavender honey we picked up from a local market. Before the trip, I always thought of lavender as something that smelled wonderful, but never thought to taste it. WOW was I wrong. Since the lavender honey experience (we it used to dip figs & cheese in) i've been on the hunt to taste anything lavender. This amazing plant has a naturally sweet flavor & isn't overpowering.
I've found lavender tea at Whole Foods & my favorite is the red lavender. It's sweet enough that I don't need to add any sweetener & has really saved me on those extra cold days in the office.
I've searched my local supermarkets, but haven't been able to find lavender honey or culinary lavender. Thank goodness for the internet. I've purchased culinary lavender & some more of the lavender honey we tasted in Sonoma.
Good old Oprah has an amazing recipe for lavender creme brulee on her website. I made it over the holidays & it was a hit & not too hard to make!
Lavender Crème Brûlée
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream , preferably not ultrapasteurized
- 1/2 stalk fresh lavender or 3 tablespoons dried lavender intended for cooking
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar ("sugar in the raw")
In a small saucepan, bring milk and cream to a boil, monitoring it closely so it doesn't boil over. Remove from the heat. Add lavender, and allow lavender to infuse the cream for one hour at room temperature. Strain mixture into a clean saucepan. Bring to a boil again and remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 275°F. In a mixing bowl, whisk the yolks and granulated sugar until just combined. Temper the egg mixture by very slowly whisking a small amount of warm lavender cream into the eggs. Take your time with this step so that the yolks don't scramble. Once the egg mixture and cream are roughly the same temperature, whisk the remaining egg mixture into the cream.
Divide custard among four 4-ounce ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking dish or roasting pan. Fill dish or pan with water so that water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins and transfer to the oven rack. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. During the last 10 minutes, check frequently for doneness: when fully baked, the crème brûlées will be firm and will wiggle just slightly when shaken. Remove ramekins from water bath and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
Before serving, sprinkle each dessert with 1 1/2 tablespoons turbinado sugar. If you own a propane torch, hold the torch about 8 inches from the custard's surface and flame the sugar into a golden brown, brittle curst. Alternatively, place ramekins under a preheated broiler and broil until sugar has caramelized, 1 to 3 minutes. Watch carefully: sugar turns from light brown to black quickly. Serve immediately.
Milk + Honey in Costa Mesa makes a LAVENDER LATTE that i'm more than slightly obsessed with. Plus, this spot is amazing with a cute outside sitting area. I could spend hours here.
MAC lip conditioner + lavender tastes & smells like lavender & i'm obsessed.
For a girlfriend's bridal gift, I gave her a set of L'OCCTANE lavender both & body products to de-stress from all that wedding planning. She loves it & I might have snagged some products for myself, too. It's a little expensive but a little of the bath gel goes a LONG way.
Sephora carries a line of all natural perfumes containing vanilla & essential oils. The vanilla + lavender is amazing.
OPI makes a few shades of lavender polish. They are all so fun & perfect for toes that are sick of dark winter colors!