We all know the common problem with lavender-flavored sweets: they taste like dish soap, dryer sheets, or an unfortunate perfume. Yet I'm sure you've eaten lavender and enjoyed it—it's one of the key ingredients in the mild, savory blend known as herbs de Provence. On its own, lavender has a distinctive taste that's floral with hints of mint and rosemary (two plants to which it's related) and, used correctly, it makes the perfect flavoring for spring. How to use it correctly? Read on.
'lavender' on Serious Eats
This dense, brownie-like chocolate concoction is rich, thick, but not saccharine, a simple and pared down dessert that surprises with hints of French florals and proper English stiff-upper-lip sternness.
About the stack: mille crêpes—literally "one-thousand crêpes"—is, as you can imagine, made with many fewer layers than the title advertises. Here, about 20 crepes make up the build, but the concept provides a good sense of the results: grand, tall, stately.
Lavender is something that I prefer to keep to my laundry rather than my food, with two notable exceptions: Eating in Provence, and Easter. Crate and Barrel clearly feels the same way because in addition to seasonal offerings like felt bunnies and egg shaped cake pans, they sell a lavender scone mix.
Do you remember when you realized lavender was delicious? I was at a farmers' market, where I bought a package of shortbread cookies speckled with the dusty purple buds and lightly dusted with sea salt. The delicate flavor and floral perfume blew me away. Where had lavender been all my culinary life? In this recipe, it transforms ordinary blueberry jam into preserves that are positively romantic.
Let's talk sour cherries for a minute. They're only around for a short span of the year, and they're not the easiest to find fruit in the world, but for a dessert-maker, they're kind of magical. These puppies can take serious abuse. Unlike most summer fruit, they retain their character even when hit by sugar and heat. Cook a ripe peach with sugar even for a few minutes and you'll get something that tastes like it came from a can. Not so with sour cherries.
Springtime is brunchtime. When the warmer weather hits, just about everyone wants to spend their weekend mornings outside at a sidewalk cafe. So for this week's Mixed Review, I tested two fresh-flavored, Spring-friendly scone mixes: Crate & Barrel's lavender version ($6.95), and Sticky Fingers lemon poppy seed ($5.99).