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June 29, 2010

Basil Ice Cream

Basil comes in huge bunches at the Park Slope Food Coop (for $1.30!), and I only used a small portion for a gazpacho that I made. In true spirit of wasting less, I looked for other ways to use the basil. Pesto is an obvious choice, but what about basil ice cream? A quick Google search later, I was looking at a recipe on Epicurious.

I've been having a love affair with the Cuisinart ice cream maker that my mom gave me for my birthday. For someone who is slightly lactose intolerant, I love ice cream (and cheese). That said, I'm not trying to double my body weight through excessive ice cream consumption. So, I've modified Epicurious' recipe to be a little lighter. The end result was an icier ice cream, rather than a very rich and creamy one. I find that an icier ice cream holds up better on a hot summer day, and it's more refreshing. For a creamier ice cream, feel free to use whole milk or add back a yolk. I also don't have a blender, so I decided to double the amount of basil and strain the leaves. Try topping the ice cream with a sprinkle of Maldon salt!

If you're in the market for an ice cream maker, Apartment Therapy Unplggd has a great roundup of ones that look good.

Basil Ice Cream (Adapted from Epicurious)

Yield: 3 cups

2 cups 2% milk (or whole milk)
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup well-chilled heavy cream

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. Prepare an ice bath and put in the fridge.

2. Meanwhile, beat together yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl until thick and pale. Bring the milk mixture back up to a boil. Temper the eggs by slowly adding the milk mixture and whisking briskly.

3. 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 the bowl in an ice bath.

4. Stir in cream and place bowl in the fridge for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.

5. Freeze in ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.


Kyle on June 29, 2010 at 4:47 PM said...

So would a Cuisinart be a good investment? I'm starting to think all my culinary dreams would come to fruition.

mimi on June 29, 2010 at 4:51 PM said...

They just updated the model!

I anticipate a lot of leftover mint this week, so I might have to make some minty ice cream. Chocolate chip mint, maybe? Sounds too normal.

sarah on June 29, 2010 at 5:31 PM said...

that sounds AWESOME

mimi on June 29, 2010 at 7:03 PM said...

I definitely think it's a must-try for basil lovers!

Matthew on July 1, 2010 at 12:41 PM said...

Wow, I may have to forward this to my wife. We have that ice cream maker and LOVE it. Plus we grow copious amounts of basil and never know what to do with it all.

mimi on July 1, 2010 at 6:52 PM said...


I never know what to do with leftover basil, mint and parsley. Maybe ice cream is the solution? Looks like David Lebovitz has a recipe for parsley ice cream.

Have you had any luck in making frozen yogurt in that machine? I've tried making a frozen greek yogurt, and it didn't really turn out.

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