Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Basil Ice Cream

When I went to Williams Sonoma to pick up my new Cuisinart ice cream maker, the girl checking me out mentioned the she had the same one. Then goes on to say that her sister recommended an ice cream recipe that she thought sounded crazy, but once she tried it, she loved it! What was it you ask? Basil ice cream! I thought, wow, this does sound crazy, but considering I have three giant basil plants in my backyard just begging for me to do something with them, I thought this might be a fun adventure.

As soon as I got home, I found the recipe on Epicurious. To make life a little easier, I'll list it here. Any changes or notes I've made are in italics.

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

Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer; an ice cream maker

1. 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. (I chopped the basil very fine initially, so I skipped the blender step. You will strain the basil out anyway, so I don't think it's necessary to use the blender.)

2. 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.

3. 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.

Cooks' note:
Ice cream can be made 2 days ahead.

* As I was typing this, I just noticed that while 1/2 cup heavy cream is listed in the ingredients, it is never mentioned in the directions! Consequentl
y, I never used it, but my ice cream still came out great. Maybe next time I'll try incorporating the heavy cream in step 1 to see what kind of difference it might make.

So what's the verdict? Two thumbs up! The flavor of the ice cream was very sweet, light and refreshing! It reminded of a mint flavored ice cream. I could definitely see this topped with chocolate of some sort or maybe I could add in some chocolate chips. I think this would be a great dessert to serve after a heavier summertime meal like a grilled steak with potatoes or something. Overall, it was a nice change from the traditional and is something I'll definitely make again.

No comments:

Post a Comment