When I first arrived in Thailand I came across a beautiful pale cerulean blue coconut sticky rice dessert. A few days later I noticed other similarly tinted foods - a blue drink sweetened with sugar and lime juice, and a blue coconut custard pancake. Intrigued, I asked what colored all of these foods and learned of a small, dried blue flower called a Butterfly Pea.
The Butterfly Pea Flower is used across Asia as a food coloring agent, but it also is said to have health benefits, and is supposed to be an aphrodisiac - all good things, so I knew I would have to bring some back to The States.
My first recipe, Butterfly Pea Ice Cream. Not only is the color great, but it tastes amazing to boot.
Butterfly Pea Ice Cream:
250g Cream (30% fat)
120g Sugar, divided
2 Pinches of salt
1/2t Vanilla extract
1/4C Dried Butterfly Pea flowers (too light to measure in grams)
6 Egg yolks
In a medium sized pot, heat the cream, milk, half of the sugar, salt, vanilla, and butterfly pea flowers until just scalded, making sure to stir to dissolve the sugar. As the liquid is heating, whisk together the other half of the sugar with the yolks in a large mixing bowl to combine very well.
Once the liquid mixture is just scalded, whisk it into the yolks little by little until it is totally incorporated. Pour the mixture back into the pot and heat on medium low while stirring with a rubber spatula until the mixture reaches 85C and thickens. Strain the crème anglaise through a sieve into a bowl, making sure to press the flowers firmly into the sieve to release all of the flavor and color. Cool over an ice bath or in the fridge with plastic wrap directly touching the mixture until completely cold. Finally, churn it in your ice cream machine and freeze to harden. Enjoy.