My husband Grant and I decided to try a summer CSA last year. We would pick up weekly boxes of fresh vegetables every Sunday from the Dog Mountain Farms’ stall at the Capitol Hill Farmer’s Market. To end the summer, we attended a farm dinner at Dog Mountain Farms in Carnation, WA. We sat in the field amongst fruit trees and rows of vegetables and enjoyed a delicious five course meal. The most memorable dish was the dessert, a berry panna cotta.
The panna cotta was wonderful but what was most surprising was the basil infused whipped cream that was served with the dish. The whipped cream had a clean sweet flavor that was so refreshing on a hot summer day. So when we had leftover basil after making pesto this weekend, Grant decided we should make a basil ice cream. It would be the perfect accompaniment to the apricot, cherry and blueberry galettes I was making for a dinner party Sunday night.
We were inspired by a recipe in Gourmet magazine however the recipe calls for pureeing the basil into the cream. I didn’t think a green ice cream would look ideal with the galettes so we opted to strain the basil leaves out of the cream before putting the mixture in the ice cream machine. The result was a crisp take on a vanilla ice cream with a surprising bite that would be perfect for any fruit or shortbread dessert.
Basil Ice Cream
What you will need…
2 cups whole milk
1 cup basil leaves
½ cup sugar
Pinch of Salt
4 large egg yolks
½ cup well-chilled heavy cream
Heat milk, basil and ¼ cup sugar, with a pinch of salt, in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, pour the mixture through a strainer to remove the basil leaves.
With a hand-held mixer, beat the yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar in a bowl until thick and pale (about 1 minute). Add the milk mixture in a slow stream and beat until combined. Pour mixture into a clean saucepan and cook over moderate heat. Be sure to stir constantly. The mixture will begin to thicken and is ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon – this will take around 6 minutes of stirring. Do not let the mixture come to a boil.
Remove from the heat and poor in to a small bowl. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water and stir until cold, around 12 minutes. (I recommend making the ice bath before you cook the custard over the stove – the custard will cook quickly and, if you don’t cool it down immediately, you risk curdling the mixture).
Stir in the cream and freeze in the ice cream maker. Once frozen, place the ice cream in an airtight container and put in the freezer to harden for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!