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Basil Ice Cream


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! 


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8 Responses to “Basil Ice Cream”

  1. 1
    chassie of cb&jblog Says:

    BASIL ICE CREAM!!! I think I’m in love. I can’t wait to try this!

  2. 2
    Holli Templeton Says:

    This looks great, but do you have a recipe for your galettes as well – I would love to make this for a party next week.

    Love your blog!



  3. 3
    Sarah Says:

    I was looking for something to do with my lemon basil that I grew this summer. I made a lemonade with it – but last night I made lemon basil ice cream with your recipe and wow! So yummy!

  4. 4
    Betsy Says:

    Hi Holli – I highly recommend serving the basil ice cream with a nice summer fruit galette. I have made galettes with my favorite pie crust and just added fruit sprinkled with sugar and bits of butter. I recommend cooking the galette at 400 degrees for around 40 minutes until the crust turns a golden brown. Enjoy your party!

  5. 5
    Matt Says:

    Yum! This sounds so good. I can’t wait to try this out.

  6. 6
    Urban Agriculture in Cuba | DigginFood Says:

    [...] such a wonderful collection of guest posts was so fun. I can’t wait to make fruit infused vodka, basil ice cream, and authentic New Jersey red [...]

  7. 7
    Nichole Says:

    Hi Willi,
    Thanks for the Ice Cream recipe. I’ve been really wanting to make ice cream with my ninja master prep and my fresh eggs from my neighbor down the street in pigeon point so I look foward to trying this recipe with the basil from my o garden.

    Look foward to the garden tour tomorrow, it’ll be nice to see your talk.

  8. 8
    Basil: 5 Things You’ve Never Heard Of Says:

    [...] checked no less than 10 entrees of basil ice cream. This recipe by Diggin’ Food was by far the most straightforward. It also gives you an option of adding the basil as a purée [...]

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