This is another post inspired by the bounty of our winter farm share, which consists of root veggies from the farm’s root cellar and lots of fresh greens and herbs from the farm’s little greenhouse. Despite it being a mild winter, it is still a nice retreat this time of year to walk into a greenhouse where the air is thick with the scent of soil, the light is bright and even, and brown chickens wander in and out.
We’ve been getting a few sprigs of lavender each week and the first thing I thought to make was the Lavender Tapioca Pudding I made when I was a teenager. My mother grows french lavender in her garden in the summer and I’m pretty sure she’s the one who suggested the idea when I pointed out that we should cook with her lavender harvest. Smart lady, that mom. The delicate aroma and taste of lavender elevate the tapioca pudding from a simple cafeteria dessert staple to a lovely floral experience that rivals desserts served at fancy-pants restaurants. And this is important because today is February 5th and one must have something rather fancy-pants to enjoy whilst watching the television event of the year… Downton Abbey. Yes, I said whilst.
What’s nice about this dessert is that it can be made a day in advance, so it makes a good dessert for guests if you have bigger fish to fry the day of a dinner party.
La la la…. you know it’s been a good weekend when there’s time to post a recipe.
Lavender Tapioca Pudding – serves 4
2 sprigs worth of lavender (about 1/8 cup)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup granulated tapioca
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1.) Combine the milk and lavender in a small saucepan. Bring barely a simmer over low heat – surface of the milk should be foaming, but not bubbling. Do not allow to boil. Barely simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool and steep about 10 minutes, stirring every once in a while to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Lavender should mostly sink to the bottom.
2.) Pour the milk and lavender through a strainer into a bowl to remove the lavender. Press the lavender with the back of a spoon to extract more lavendery goodness. Pour the milk back into the saucepan.
3.) Stir in the tapioca and sugar. Over low heat, stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. About 3 minutes
4.) Gradually whisk in the eggs. Increase heat to medium-low. Whisk constantly and bring the mixture barely to a simmer. Do not allow it to boil. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens enough to form a thick coating on the back of a spoon. About 5-7 minutes, until it has the consistency of cream of wheat.
5.) Pour into ramekins or pudding bowls. Garnish with lovely sprigs of lavender. Allow to set for about 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.
6.) Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours and serve chilled.