Stopping to Smell the Roses: Honey Chevre Ice Cream with Rose-Kissed Caramel Sauce Recipe

Friday, May 13, 2011

chevre-ice-cream-6

When I was a little girl, we lived in house made of pale gray stone.  It was the only stone house on our street.  All of the others were made of red brick.   The front and back flagstone porches were connected by a cobbled path, and the whole property was encircled by a white picket fence.  Yes, a white picket fence.  Really.  Ivy and morning glory trailed up the outer walls like dark green veins  It was our very own country cottage in the middle of the urban jungle.  I wonder who lives there now.  Do they love it as much as I did?   Oh, how I still sometimes yearn for that house!

Our small back yard contained three huge lilac bushes, two Japanese cherry trees and a few other things that frankly, paled in comparison and don’t bear mentioning.  After each winter’s thaw, I’d wait with excited anticipation for them to bud.  When they finally did bloom,  the profusion of color and  intoxicating scent were a feast for my young and tender senses.    The yard became a fairyland of lavender and pink, and I was the resident fairy princess who reigned supreme.  All too soon the flowers would fade and fall, covering the ground with a soft, plush, pastel carpet that was perfect for lying on as I pondered the meaning of life – and waited for the roses.  

cherry-blossoms

Ah, the roses!   I’ve always been in love with roses.  The ones I love best aren’t the sterile, scentless, long stemmed, barely opened blooms that come in a box, although I’ll take them in a pinch.  My favorites are the tangled, unfussy, multi-hued clusters of fragrant blossoms that crown thorny, twining bushes.    The ones that climb and creep and flaunt their velvety, unfurled petals as if they’re smiling at the sun.   These are the roses that, to me, are the loveliest.  With their slightly ruffled, imperfect edges, they are perfection.

Once the lilacs and cherry blossoms were spent, it was time for the roses to make their appearance.  We had over one hundred rose bushes of varying types and colors lining the perimeter of our yard – right along that white picket fence I told you about.   When the roses were in bloom, it was spectacular!  Each year around this time, there were masses of vivid crimson, coral and yellow roses  mingling with blushing, watercolor pinks and creamy whites surrounding the house.   It was a kaleidoscopic masterpiece!  Perhaps that is where my love affair with roses began.

roses-garden

Sometimes, I would try to count the flowers, wandering from bush to bush, stopping to sniff each one.   Did you know that different varieties of roses have different scents?  Some smell slightly sweet, with a touch of spice.  Others have a warm, musky scent.  Some even give off a fruity aroma, like that of lemons, apricots and peaches.   It’s no small wonder that roses are a popular ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, and have been since ancient times.

The Romans used roses petals in cooking, especially desserts such as puddings and ices.  They even used the petals to flavor wines.  Other cultures, influenced by the Romans, also embraced the use of roses in their cooking.  To this day, tasty rose flavored treats are popular in many European and Middle Eastern countries.   So, when I was looking for an unusual twist to add to my luscious honey chevre ice cream, roses came to mind.

This ice cream is absolutely lovely all on its own, with the subtle tang of fresh goat cheese laced with earthy tones of honey.  But, I wanted to make some kind of topping to go with it.  I thought about doing something with roasted strawberries, but then I remembered a dessert I had once at a fancy, schmancy restaurant that I absolutely loved.  It was also an ice cream made with chevre, and it was served swimming in a sea of lavender-scented caramel.   I decided to swap out the lavender with roses and see how it turned out.

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There’s a wonderful little spice shop a few blocks from my house that carries an assortment of culinary grade dried flowers, including rosebuds.  Most people buy them to use in teas, but I thought they would work well for making my “rose kissed” caramel sauce.  Don’t they look pretty?

rosebuds-1

To make the caramel, I first combined the rosebuds and some heavy cream together in a small saucepan and brought them to a gentle simmer.    Then, I removed the pan from the heat, covered it and let the roses infuse the cream with their delicate, floral essence.

chevre-ice-cream-1

After that, I made my caramel sauce using a recipe from the fabulous new cookbook, Sugar Baby, by Gesine Bullock-Prado.  Instead of the plain heavy cream called for, I added my rose-infused cream, and crossed my fingers.

vanilla-bean-caramels-5

By the way, Gesine’s publisher was kind enough to send me a copy of the book to try out -  and it is wonderful!   I plan to share a few more recipes from Sugar Baby soon,  and there might even be a giveaway in it for you.

Anyway, I was very pleased with the way this caramel turned out.  It was smooth and silky, with a deep, but not burnt, caramel flavor.  The essence of rose was definitely there, but not in an “in your face” kind of way.  It was delicate and refined, just like an actual rose.  I loved it!

For the chevre ice cream, I again took my inspiration from David Lebovitz.  David’s version doesn’t include honey, but I really wanted to have those earthy, floral notes in the ice cream to play off of the caramel.  It was a good call on my part, because I really think that the whole combination was heavenly.   The ice cream all by itself was wonderful too.  It had a lovely, creamy texture, and just the right amount of sweetness.  The honey balanced out the tanginess of the goat cheese perfectly.  This was one sophisticated ice cream!

chevre-ice-cream-5b

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a decent photograph of ice cream with warm caramel sauce on top?  Setting it in front of a bright, sunny window didn’t help either.  Oy!

I stuck this one back in the freezer for a few minutes first. Better.

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Indulging in this creamy, dreamy treat isn’t quite the same as luxuriating in a field of gorgeous flowers, but it’s certainly worth the effort.  Making it conjured up many magical memories for me of an unfettered time filled with unbridled joy.   Too often we busily rush through our lives, scrambling to keep up with jobs, deadlines and family obligations.  Our lives can become so cluttered!   We forget about, or just don’t have time to really enjoy the exquisite beauty that surrounds us, often in the simplest things – like one perfect rose.  Sometimes, we need to just stop and smell the roses.

 

 

9 responses to Stopping to Smell the Roses: Honey Chevre Ice Cream with Rose-Kissed Caramel Sauce Recipe

  1. On May 13, 2011 at 1:14pm, Rosa said...

    That looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous! I really like that use of goat’s cheese.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. On May 13, 2011 at 4:41pm, Daily Spud said...

    Just beautiful, Susan! I’ve actually just come back from the Middle East, where we saw them make rose petal jam and where rose water or orange blossom water scented almost every dessert. I loved it and have brought back a little stash of jams and syrups to remind me of the taste. No surprise really that I love the sound of this dessert too :)

  3. On May 13, 2011 at 6:01pm, Cakelaw said...

    This looks absolutely devine!

  4. On May 14, 2011 at 7:58am, Joyce said...

    This looks absolutely amazing and so very creative! My mouth is watering!

  5. On May 15, 2011 at 10:00pm, ray ban said...

    I love your site. There is plenty of insight. It is great to see sites

    promoting ethics.

  6. On May 16, 2011 at 3:24pm, Beth said...

    I don’t know which is more beautiful – those flowers, or that dessert. Wow!

  7. On May 16, 2011 at 10:44pm, Gary said...

    This is very well done sauce. Really excellent descriptions in your blog. I’m new to this forum and am thinking of attending NOLA, if you’ve attended IFBC in years past Id love to hear about you’re experience and get some feedback from you on my site too, if we do have the pleasure of meeting there I would love to get my hands on some of this sauce! Best, Gary

  8. On May 17, 2011 at 9:45am, Rachel (S[d])OC) said...

    I love roses too. I also love lilacs and mourn the fact that their blooming season is so short.

    Lovely dessert. I enjoy using roses in my desserts. I once made ice cream with rosewater and pistachios. I hvae to try to find rosewater since I don’t have a rosebush of my own to make infusions with. Maybe I should try to steal some from my neighbors!

  9. On May 26, 2011 at 2:51pm, Lana @ Never Enough Thyme said...

    What a delightfully different recipe! Really like your use of rosebuds to flavor the sauce. Bravo!

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kiss the cook!

Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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