At almost every farmers’ market in the area you’ll find a purveyor of local honey. At my Brookline Farmers’ Market, it’s Golden Rule Honey, which is a larger distributor or raw honey from New England and beyond, but there are little apiaries all over New England making delicious raw, local honey. From Beverly Bees, and Carlisle Honey, to Mimi’s Hilltop Apiary, you can probably find honey made very close to where you live, with a wide variety of flavors based on the diverse local flora. There’s also a lot of advocacy and education provided by these passionate hive masters, but you can learn some fast facts about honeybees from Mimi. For a comprehensive education in honey, as well as varieties of local wildflower honey, buzz over to Follow The Honey in Harvard Square.
I certainly enjoy cooking and baking with honey, but given the ridiculous heat wave we’re having these days I’ve mostly been drizzling it over everything from yogurt to gorgonzola. But when the craving struck for something a little more honey-centric, the only option was ice cream. Sweetening ice cream with honey instead of sugar gives it a subtle flavor boost without any added ingredients. You can vary the flavor of the ice cream just by selecting a different honey. I chose a straightforward golden honey for my batch, but if you’re into the sweet-savory combo you can try thyme honey from Provence Kitchen. From there, the options are endless. You can mix in toasted almonds, fresh blackberries, or a pinch of cardamom, or do what I do and top a serving with all three!
Golden Honey Ice Cream
Yield: about 2 pints
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup honey, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped honeyed almonds and/or fresh blackberries
1. Whisk egg yolks in medium metal bowl; set aside. Place whole milk into chilled metal bowl and refrigerate.
2. Combine heavy cream, 1/2 cup honey, and salt in medium saucepan, whisking until honey dissolves, and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. As soon as mixture simmers, gradually whisk half of hot cream into egg yolks. Return egg mixture to saucepan and stir constantly over medium-low heat until mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes (do not boil). Thickened mixture should coat the back of a spoon.
3. Strain warm custard mixture into chilled milk. (The straining is very important, in case any of your egg proteins got a little too hot and curdled. It’s no big deal, but the staining will get rid of them.) Whisk vanilla extract into cream mixture. Cover bowl and chill until cold, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.
4. Process chilled mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions, adding remaining 1/4 cup honey once mixture is the consistency of soft-serve. You can serve immediately if you want soft serve, or transfer to freezer container, cover and freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Top with nuts or fruit.
Note: Chill ice cream making element, according to manufacturer instructions, in advance of starting to make ice cream. Don’t substitute a lower fat milk or your ice cream may be too icy.