Thursday, September 3, 2015

Basil Ice Cream

I may have mentioned this before.  I probably shouldn't have.  I'm actually reluctant to mention it at all because it's something that I believe sets me apart from pretty much everyone else in the whole wide world--and not in a good way. The thing is, I'm not the biggest fan of ice cream....  I like it ok.  I remember once a while back I was chatting with an acquaintance of mine and he had just moved to the neighborhood I live in.  He told me he discovered this place, George's, and I happily added that I knew all about George's because they have the best chocolate fudge cake. He laughed at me because he found it odd that I mentioned a cake instead of the gallons and gallons of ice creams they have on display sitting below a menu that lists a plethora of different flavors as well as sundaes.

In short, George's is really more of an ice cream destination for most people--although they do have quite a selection of other types of non-frozen desserts--including that delectable chocolate fudge cake I adore/prefer over all of those aforementioned ice cream flavors. Don't get me wrong, I think ice cream is good.  But I'd much rather have a brownie or piece of cake over it.  At the same time, my lack of enthusiasm for ice cream doesn't prevent me from wanting to make it.  I mean I do have my own ice cream maker and truth be told, over the years I've made quite a bit of it.  But I think it's more the novelty of it--homemade ice cream is a little more rare than cake or brownies.  And as boring as it may be, vanilla ice cream is probably my favorite flavor.  It's also the most basic and simplest ice cream flavor to make--so I make it more than any other flavor.  Plus, it pairs so well with everything--especially chocolate cake and brownies...  Nevertheless, on occasion I like to expand my horizons and try something a lil different.  And since it's summer and I have an abundance of basil growing on my balcony, I knew that when I came across a recipe for basil ice cream I had to give it a shot.

The closest thing that basil ice cream tastes like is green tea ice cream.  Not surprisingly, it does taste basily--but not overwhelmingly so.  And I can't honestly say that I loved it (setting aside my moderate passion for ice cream in general) but I also don't think it's bad at all.  Though, what I think really elevates it is adding in some fresh berries--or some sort of fruit sauce--like cherry sauce--which is what I had on hand.  I'm not sure why or what the reasons are, but in the same way that vanilla ice cream and brownies go well, basil and berries pair quite nicely too.  Throw in some white chocolate magic shell (I made my own which was extremely easy) and you've got an amazing alternative type sundae.  It might seem like a very odd flavor but--as I mentioned earlier--it's no stranger than green tea ice cream.  So if you like that, then you'd probably enjoy this.  It's actually kind of a refreshing flavor--worth a try.  And for someone who isn't the biggest ice cream lover, I think that's saying something.

Recipe slightly adapted from Saveur

2 cups basil leaves
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 T lime zest
1/4 tsp salt
6 large egg yolks

First, combine everything in a blender until completely smooth.  Then transfer the mixture to a medium or large saucepan.  Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has just almost come to a simmer.  Once heated through, remove from the heat and pour it through a fine mesh sieve over a large clean bowl.  Discard the leftover basil leaves.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.  The next day, freeze the mixture according to the instructions for whatever ice cream maker you utilize.  Enjoy!


  1. Another great post with beautiful photos! You've got some company with your interest in ice cream. I'll take a cinnamon roll or brownie any day over ice cream. As far as most frozen deserts are concerned, I tend to find myself on the (ahem) fruitier side of things. The addition of raspberries looks delicious. I like basil to some extent, but the stronger anise component, the less I like it, and it seems that all the basil I ever grow tends to be strong in that flavor. Do you think that was very noticeable with your ice cream? Thanks again for all your posts. I just joined and am enjoying that.

    1. Hey David! Thanks for the comment ;-). I don't think that the basil taste was too too strong. So, no I don't think that it was overtly noticeable. But if I felt that it was--or you did--then I think that you could definitely tone down the flavor by reducing the amount of basil in the recipe and/or add some other additional--perhaps fruity--flavor to give your taste buds something else to ponder.

      I just looked at and it looks pretty cool! Thanks--I'd never heard of it before!

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