Scented pelargonium ice cream

Infuse your ice cream mix with the heady scents of scented pelargoniums for a heavenly flavour.

Pelargonium ice cream
Pelargonium ice cream. Image: Jean Vernon
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If you grow scented pelargoniums the chances are you are already hooked on their exquisite scent and fragrance. These amazing plants exude rich tones of botanical essences, from the rose scented ‘Attar of Roses’ which is used for perfumery, to the citrusy scents of the lemon scented varieties, or the peppermint fragrance of Pelargonium tomentosum.

You can infuse sugar with the leaves of these amazing plants and use that to make cakes or biscuits, or why not steep your ice-cream mix with the leaves for a few hours or even overnight, before freezing?

Be sure to use leaves free from pesticides and foliar feeds (and bugs). Best to choose leaves from the same plant to imbue a consistent flavour. We chose the rose scented leaves of Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’. This recipe uses egg yolks but you can adapt an egg free ice-cream recipe with a similar effect.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 washed leaves of scented pelargoniums.
  • 375 ml of double cream
  • 125 ml of full fat milk
  • 2 free range egg yolks
  • 100g of caster sugar

Method

Place the milk and cream in a saucepan and add the leaves. Heat gently, stirring and bring almost to the boil.

Remove from the heat, place the lid on the pan and leave the mixture to infuse and cool. Check the flavour after 10-15 minutes and leave to steep for longer if you want a stronger taste. Strain and allow to cool.

Take a glass or heatproof mixing bowl and add the egg yolks and sugar. Beat with a wooden spoon until pale in colour. Add a tablespoon of the flavoured cream mixture and beat it all together slowly. When you have mixed it all together, place the heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir continuously until it has started to thicken. Do not overheat or boil this mixture or it will curdle. Remove from heat, cover the custard mix with a saucer and allow to chill before placing in the fridge. When cool transfer to the freezer or ice cream maker and freeze for at least an hour. Remove from freezer before serving.

For a dramatic effect, use a small copper saucepan to contain the ice-cream while freezing and serve inside the pan with a vintage aluminium ice-cream scoop.

This recipe is inspired by the rose-scented pelargonium icecream from Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, Surrey.

Jean Vernon

About Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon is a slightly quirky, bee friendly, alternative gardener. She doesn’t follow the rules and likes to push the boundaries a bit just to see what happens. She has a fascination for odd plants, especially edibles and a keen interest in growing for pollinators especially bees. She’s rather obsessed with the little buzzers. Telegraph Gardening Correspondent, mostly testing and trialing products and Editor-In-Chief for Richard Jackson’s Garden.
@TheGreenJeanie
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