Palo Santo infused ice cream sundaes drizzled with local honey and split dates, have you ever heard such music in your ears? I couldn't stop smiling as Roxanne rolled out the ingredients to assemble these truly awesome desserts. They were the perfect thing to eat under the canopy of a rustling Sycamore tree, the breeze blowing just slightly as we threw our sweatshirts on in the twilight of early evening, in the backyard of the Ojai Rancho Inn . . .

Roxanne Rosensteel did such an amazing job with this one -- The palo santo infusion makes such an interesting flavor note to eat, rather than smell as is typical with the lovely smudging tool. The woodsy smokey taste folds into sweet custard perfectly, the richness complimenting the nutty forest tones. It's sort of like all the good vibes of camping jumped into a vat of your favorite ice cream. The avocado blossom honey, wild and herby sits atop with a date, coming together in a burnt caramel fashion.

Palo Santo Extract 
makes 1 cup 

3/4 cup food grade palo santo wood chips
1 cup vodka

Fill a very clean 8 oz. mason jar 3/4 of the way full with palo santo wood chips. Pour the vodka over the chips, filling up the jar so that the chips are covered. Cover tightly with a lid and store in a cool, dark place for one week, shaking gently once a day. Strain through two layers of cheesecloth into a new, clean jar. Will keep for several months when stored in a cool, dark place, away from heat and moisture.

Palo Santo Ice Cream with Honey and Dates 
makes 1 quart 

1 1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 cups heavy cream, divided
5 egg yolks
2-3 teaspoons palo santo extract
1 cup dates honey, as needed

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, sugar, salt, scraped vanilla bean and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream til the edges just barely start to bubble. Cover and let it steep for 15 minutes then remove the vanilla bean. Place the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl and set aside. Pour the remaining heavy cream into a separate bowl. Create an ice bath by filling a separate, larger bowl halfway up with ice, and placing the bowl of cream on top of the ice.

Reheat the milk mixture til it begins to steam. While quickly whisking the egg yolks, gradually incorporate the hot milk until it is all mixed together. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring and scraping the bottom constantly for about 10 minutes, until it thickens and reaches 175 degrees. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl of cream and whisk to combine. Whisk in the palo santo extract. Let the custard rest in a covered container in the refrigerator overnight. Freeze the custard according to the manufacturers instructions. Immediately transfer the ice cream to a container and put in the freezer for a few hours, until it is completely frozen. To serve, drizzle with honey and top with pieces of date.


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