Thursday, July 16, 2009

Basil Ice Cream

As promised, here is my post on basil ice cream.

I wanted to love it. I love basil, I love ice cream, so I should love basil ice cream, right???

After seeing a couple renditions here and here, I knew I had to give it a try, but honestly I was disappointed. I thought it the basil flavor was too strong, and I liked it best when it was served with things such as a blueberry compote. I may try it again with less basil - I think it should be more of a subtle flavor rather than in-your-face. That could have been the fault of my basil, though, because it was rather strong. I think it is also a bit of an acquired taste, as I did like it more over time, but I never loved it. I'm fairly determined to love this ice cream, so I will probably take another shot or two at it.

I used the recipe from Baking Obsession as a reference, but tweaked it here and there. Actually, looking at that recipe again, I tweaked it a lot. The recipe was more of a loose guide. I also see that there was a tablespoon of lemon juice that I omitted - I think I just forgot to add it, because I almost always have lemons around. Maybe that would have made a difference in my opinion of it, I don't know. Here is what I did:

Basil Ice Cream

15g basil (about 1 cup, pressed down, but not tightly packed)
1/3 c agave syrup
3 c heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
1/8 tsp salt

Blend basil and agave in food processor until the basil has been chopped into very small pieces.
In a large saucepan with the burner on medium, heat the heavy cream until it is almost boiling. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and salt. Using a measuring cup, pour the hot cream 1/4 cup at a time into the eggs to temper them, whisking constantly. When you've poured in about 1 1/2 cups, return it all to the saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Immediately pour into a quart-sized jar with lid, and leave out to cool to room temperature. Then, place the jar in the refrigerator for several hours - or overnight - to chill completely. When mixture is chilled, blend with immersion blender for about 1 minute, then pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions to churn.


  1. I have been intrigued by the idea of basil ice cream for a while, too. Really, both components are just the essence of summer. It looks nice and I am interested to see other versions.

  2. I'm fascinated by this flavor, too, so it's interesting to see your reaction to it. I love how you describe your determination to love it, and I hope you find a version that you do, indeed, adore!

  3. You made the basil ice cream =D...high five to you! The basil may be strong but I agree with you; if you try it again with less basil, I just know it will be a winner. The color is beautiful...

  4. You are totally right! It should be subtle. I have made it twice. The first time was horrible because we didn't temper the eggs correctly-it was our very first time making ice cream and tempering anything. The second time was absolutely amazing!!! Everybody loved it. . even my mother in law, who can be quite picky at times. This is the recipe I used:
    1 quart heavy cream
    1 cup basil leaves, divided
    3 tsp. orange zest
    8 egg yolks
    3/4 cup sugar

    Bring cream, basil, and orange zest to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Mix egg yolks and sugar until creamy. Return cream to the heat and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and add a but of cream to the egg mixture to temper it. Add egg mixture to the cream and return to heat for a couple of minutes, being careful not to boil. Cool quickly by placing the saucepan in an ice bath. Let cool a few hours. Strain and place in ice cream maker. Make ice cream according to the directions for your maker.

    I hope this helps. (I didn't have the patience to let the mixture cool over night so that maybe why the basil flavor was more subtle than in your face)


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