Hey everybody, look! It's another use for basil!
I know, basil ice cream probably seems a bit odd, but it's actually really good (far better than the strawberry balsamic ice cream I made a few years ago- strawberry balsamic sorbet, yes, mixing balsamic and dairy, no.) As you can probably guess, I made this because I had more basil than I knew what to do with.
This ice cream had a nice vanilla taste but with the bite of basil. The basil wasn't overpowering, and it actually complements the sweet really nicely- maybe that's why basil and heirloom tomatoes are such a perfect combination?
Basil Ice Cream
from The City Sisters
4 cups 2% milk (original recipe called for whole)
6 T fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 cup sugar
8 egg yolks
1 cup light cream (the original recipe called for heavy, and I actually intended to use my favorite ff1/2&1/2, but I grabbed the wrong carton. I actually had no idea I had light cream)
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, basil, half the sugar and salt. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat (once it's started to boil) and let steep for 30-60 minutes. Then transfer to a blender and puree.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2cup of sugar with egg yolks in a bowl and whisk vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture is a light yellow. Combine the egg and basil/milk mixture together, whisk to fully combine, and put back in the saucepan, over low heat. Stir often with a wooden spoon, and heat until the mixture coats the back of the spoon and reaches 175F (or you can go with either of those indicators). Don't let it boil! Also, watch that it doesn't get too hot and the eggs scramble.
Transfer the custard to a bowl and chill (either in an ice bath for a little while, or for a few hours in the fridge).
Once it's cool, strain through a mesh sieve (which... I didn't. I forgot) and stir in the cream. Transfer to an ice cream maker and make ice cream!
I think I need to make basil sorbet next time, and use it as a palate cleanser course during a fancy dinner party. I think the dairy would cancel all palate-cleansing properties of the herb, and could be like an early dessert course.