Nothing is too pretty to eat. Otherwise we'd have to bypass these delicate edible flower dinners—and what's the fun in that? Check out these gorgeous ideas for incorporating edible flowers into your favorite foods like cupcakes, tea sandwiches, cookies, and jams.
4 - cups cubed, seeded cantaloupe or 2 1/2 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
2 - teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
1 - cup sugar
6 - egg yolks
1/4 - cup dried hibiscus flowers, coarsely broken (optional)
2 1/4 - cups whole milk
1 - cup unsweetened coconut milk or whole milk
3/4 - cup whipping cream
1/2 - teaspoon salt
In a blender or food processor combine cantaloupe and orange peel. Blend or process until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve; discard pulp and peel. Measure 1-1/2 cups of the melon liquid; set aside.
In a medium bowl combine sugar and egg yolks; beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 4 minutes. Set aside.
Place hibiscus flowers, if using, in a large tea ball or place on a 6-inch square of double-thick cheesecloth, bring up sides, and tie closed with 100 percent cotton kitchen string.
In a large saucepan combine hibiscus, milk, coconut milk, cream, and salt; heat just until simmering. Remove from heat; let stand for 2 minutes. Discard hibiscus.
Slowly stir 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Return all of the egg yolk mixture to the saucepan. Heat and stir for 5 to 6 minutes or until mixture thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon (185 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). Be careful not to let mixture boil. Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water; stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes or until cool.
In a large bowl combine melon liquid* and egg yolk-milk mixture, stirring until well mixed. Cover surface of the mixture with plastic wrap. Chill about 4 hours or until well chilled.
Freeze mixture in a 2- to 4-quart ice cream freezer according to the manufacturers directions. If desired, ripen gelato mixture for 4 hours before serving.**
FROM THE TEST KITCHEN
Beat sugar and eggs as directed in Step 2. Omit melon, orange peel (if desired), and hibiscus flowers; replace coconut milk with whole milk; and add 2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder or instant coffee crystals to milk mixture. Continue as directed in Steps 4 through 6, except add an additional 1-1/2 cups whole milk in place of the melon juice. Freeze mixture as directed in Step 7, except once the gelato is almost thick, drizzle in 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping and continue to freeze.
Nutrition Analysis per serving: 166 calories, 4 g protein, 20 g carbohydrate, 8 g total fat (5 g sat. fat), 92 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 20 g sugar, 8% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C, 129 mg sodium, 10% calcium, 1% iron
Prepare as directed, except omit hibiscus flowers and substitute one 16-ounce package (3 cups) frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed, for the melon, blending or processing until smooth as directed. If desired, add 2/3 cup toasted slivered almonds just before freezing.
Nutrition Analysis per serving: 167 calories, 3 g protein, 18 g carbohydrate, 10 g total fat (6 g sat. fat), 88 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 17 g sugar, 11% Vitamin A, 1% Vitamin C, 103 mg sodium, 6% calcium, 3% iron
If desired for the watermelon version, stir in 6 drops of red food coloring.
Ripening homemade gelato improves the texture and helps to keep it from melting too quickly during eating. To ripen in a traditional-style ice cream freezer, after churning, remove the lid and dasher and cover the top of the freezer can with waxed paper or foil. Plug the hole in the lid with a small piece of cloth; replace the lid. Pack the outer freezer bucket with enough ice and rock salt to cover the top of the freezer can (use 1 cup salt for each 4 cups ice). Ripen about 4 hours. When using an ice cream freezer with an insulated freezer bowl, transfer the ice cream to a covered freezer container and ripen by freezing in your regular freezer about 4 hours (or check the manufacturers recommendations).
NUTRITION FACTS (Melon-Hibiscus Gelato)