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Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

Since I’m in the people-pleasing mode, although I squirreled away a bunch of lemon verbena from my friend’s shrub, you can probably find some if you ask friends, or at your local farmer’s market or well-stocked grocers. You could equal parts fresh mint instead.
  • 1 1/2 cups (10g) loosely-packed fresh lemon verbena leaves, rinsed & dried
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • optional: a dried leaf of lemon verbena, to crumble in the just-churned ice cream, or a very-finely chopped fresh leaf
  • In a medium saucepan, warm the lemon verbena leaves with the milk, 1/2 cup (125ml) of the cream, the sugar, and a pinch of salt.
  • Once warm, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for one hour.
  • To make the ice cream custard, pour the remaining cream into a large bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water, and put a mesh strainer on top.
  • Use a strainer or slotted spoon to skim the lemon verbena from the cream & milk mixture and squeeze the leaves to extract as much liquid as possible back into the saucepan, then discard them. Rewarm the lemon verbena-infused cream & milk, then
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together in a small bowl and slowly pour in the warm infusion, whisking constantly.
  • Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan and cook, stirring continuously with a heatproof spatula, until the custard leaves a trail on the spatula when you drag your finger across it. (If using a thermometer, it should read about 175ºF, or 79ºC.)
  • Immediately strain the custard into the bowl of cream. Stir until cool.
  • Chill thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When done, crumble a dried verbena leaf in the ice cream, or finely-chop a fresh leaf and stir that in.