I know I know. I was just talking about the Fall and here I go, writing about a summer ice cream recipe. To be fair, summer is not yet over. Mother nature decided to remind me of this fact by giving me some 90 degree heat this weekend. Touché, mother nature, touché.
Throughout the summer I have been swimming in an abundance of basil. Not that I am complaining, but deciding to plant four basil plants may have been a little much. I have used basil in every kind of dish and sauce imaginable. I made several batches of pesto and I dried a massive bunch of basil in the dehydrator. In the midst of using all of this basil, it dawned on me that I had not made basil ice cream from some time. Basil ice cream was made in the Scoop Adventures kitchen a couple of years ago and I have raved about it being one of my favorite flavors ever since, but somehow I never found the time to make another batch.
The Scoop Adventures cookbook contains a delightful Sweet Basil Ice Cream recipe from The Bent Spoon in Princeton, New Jersey. I had the pleasure of visiting the folks at this small ice cream shop. The owner, Gab, is one of the nicest ladies I have ever met and her ice cream is phenomenal. So when it came time to throw together a batch of my own basil ice cream, I took a few technique hints from her recipe and adapted it to my own non-custard ice cream base. Fresh basil flavor is in abundance in this green summer scoop. Pair with macerated strawberries or a berry jam. Enjoy!
Summer Basil Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
1 ½ cups whole milk, divided
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 ¾ cups heavy cream
3/4 cups sugar
10 big basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, make a slurry by mixing 2 Tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. Set aside.
Combine the remaining milk with heavy cream and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring milk mixture to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, 3 minutes. Remove from heat and off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (draw a line on a spoon), about 1 minute. Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into a medium bowl. Set the bowl in the ice water bath, and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes. Chill overnight.
When ready to churn the ice cream, combine the basil leaves, lemon juice, salt and 1 cup cooled ice cream base into a blender and blend until smooth. Add remaining base and pulse until combined. Pour into an ice cream maker immediately and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve soft immediately or transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
Tip: Keep in mind that different herbs respond to heat and oxidation differently. This recipe calls for a quick-blend and immediate freeze because the bright green color will turn quickly if it does not get frozen right away.