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Meyer Lemon Granita with Braised Blueberries and Bay Leaf Ice Cream

Meyer Lemon Granita with Braised Blueberries and Bay Leaf Ice Cream

From: Pastry chef Ron Mendoza, Sona, Los Angeles. Yield: 16 servings.

U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Braised Blueberries:
2 pints fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out
1 bay leaf
1 lime, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Meyer Lemon Granita:
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 saffron threads
1 quart Meyer lemon juice

Bay Leaf Ice Cream:
1 quart whole milk
7 oz. heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
3 oz. milk powder
3 fresh bay leaves

For braised blueberries: In medium-sized pan, combine blueberries, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, bay leaf, lime slices and cinnamon stick. Cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes to let the flavor infuse, but do not let the berries break. (If mixture looks dry, add a small amount of water.) Mix 1 Tbsp. water and cornstarch, add to berries, whisk gently, bring to a simmer, remove from heat and cool. Remove herbs and spices.

For Meyer lemon granita: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, make a simple syrup with sugar, water and saffron. Remove from heat, cool until consistency is syrupy. Gradually add syrup to lemon juice until it is sweetened but still quite tart. Pour into a shallow pan and place in a freezer; scrape with a fork every hour for three hours until consistency is slushy.

For bay leaf ice cream: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring milk, cream, sugar and milk powder to a boil. Remove from heat and add bay leaves. Cover pan and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain, allow to cool, then chill; turn in an ice cream machine as directed by manufacturer.

For each serving: Spoon braised blueberries into a small serving bowl; place the bowl on a rectangular service plate. Place a cookie on the plate and top it with a scoop each of granita and ice cream.