Basil Ice Cream

Basil ice cream is so refreshing. I love the subtle flavor of basil under a rich creamy ice cream.  And after so many healthy dishes lately I felt it was time for a treat! I made this ice cream about a year ago and it hasn't been forgotten, so I thought it might be a nice dessert to share on this blog. 

The greatest challenge here was the styling of the ice cream, (even with a recently purchased ice cream scoop) it is not so easy to make a pretty scoop of ice cream. But this was my first experience photographing ice cream, I knew I would have to shoot fast, so I made sure to have the set up in place prior to placing the ice cream. I ended up doing 2 separate shoots, the first round was ok, but I felt I could do a bit better. 

From first photo shoot, I like the drips, but I couldn't get nicely formed scoops.

From first photo shoot, I like the drips, but I couldn't get nicely formed scoops.

The recipe is adapted from epicurious with a few changes. I added more cream, most ice cream recipes I've made have at least equal amounts of milk and cream, the original here only had 1-4 ratio on the cream so I bumped it up a bit, and I refrigerated the custard rather than doing to ice bath. I'm not sure 15 minutes of an ice bath is really enough time for it to chill before putting it in the ice cream maker. Most ice cream recipes that involve a cooked custard generally require several hours of refrigeration or preferably overnight. And the forgotten vanilla! I meant to add vanilla bean to this recipe and completely forgot, I have so many vanilla beans and really want to make use of them, next time for sure.

I love ice cream so I'm always looking for new flavors to explore, if you have any suggestions on flavors you can always post in the comments, would love to hear any recommendations.

Recipe below, hope you enjoy!

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Basil Ice Cream
(adapted from epicurious)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup well-chilled heavy cream

Makes about 3 cups of ice cream

Bring milk, basil, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring, then remove from heat and let steep 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender (reserve saucepan) and blend until basil is finely ground, about 1 minute.

Beat together yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 1 minute. Add milk mixture in a stream, beating until combined well. Pour mixture into reserved saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture coats back of spoon and registers 175°F on thermometer (do not let boil). Immediately remove from heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice water and stir until cold, 10 to 15 minutes (or refrigerate)*.

Stir in cream and freeze in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 2 hours.

* I opted out of the ice bath and put it in the freezer for 45 minutes. added the cream and refrigerated for another 45 minutes. It's preferable when making ice cream (custard type)  to refrigerate several hours or overnight, I don't think 15 minutes in ice bath would be sufficient since you want the custard to be really really cold.

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