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Lavender Custard (Crème Anglaise á la Lavande)

This perfumed custard, an edible reminder of the purple fields around Sault, the center of the French lavender industry, can be served with Pears in Puff Pastry (see related recipe at left).


  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. pesticide-free fresh or dried
      lavender flowers, without stems


Pour the milk into a saucepan, place over medium heat and heat until small bubbles appear along the edges of the pan.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until creamy. Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg-milk mixture into the saucepan, place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and lightly coats the back of the spoon, about 1 minute. Do not allow it to boil. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the custard should register 180°F.

Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the lavender flowers. Pour the custard into a pitcher, cover with plastic placed directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve. Return the custard to the pitcher, cover with clean plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface, and refrigerate for up to 2 days before serving.
Serves 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Provence, by Diane Holuigue (Time-Life Books, 2002).