I cannot get enough basil this summer. I'll eat it with anything: pesto, caprese, pasta, frittata, and, yes, even ice cream. I was skeptical about herbal dessert, but basil ice cream is marvelously refreshing (here, basil plays a similar flavor role as mint does). Last summer I made a sweet basil ice cream topped with strawberries in balsamic syrup that went over really well with all who tried it, so when I came across this recipe that combined such great flavors, I couldn't turn away.
Strawberry Basil Ice cream is an ode to summer. The upcoming Labor Day weekend marks the official end of summer, though I have a feeling it will linger for a while longer here in Tucson. So cheers to warmer times, fresh berries, basil from the garden, and ice cream!
Note: I took these pictures outside when it was 104 F. The ice cream doesn't look this melt-y in real life, I promise :)
Strawberry Basil Ice Cream
adapted from Cherry Tea Cakes
yields 6-8 servings
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar plus additional for strawberries
2 cups half and half, cream, or whole milk
2 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
Scald one cup of half and half along with ½ cup sugar and half of the basil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan. Remove from heat. Allow to sit for a few minutes before discarding the basil.
In a stand mixer whisk together the yolks and ¼ cup sugar until light and fluffy, then gradually pour the scalded half and half down the side of the bowl as the mixer is still going.
Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture has thickened and will coat the back of the spoon. Remove from heat, and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Add in the remaining half and half and lemon extract. Chill the custard thoroughly. About two hours.
Place strawberries in a bowl and dust lightly with sugar. Allow to sit for one hour.
Puree the strawberries and push through a fine mesh sieve, and into the chilled custard. Puree the remaining basil and add into the chilled custard. Stir gently to combine.
Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker. Allow the ice cream to churn until finished. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.