Basil Ice Cream

Basil Ice CreamAs much as it pains me to admit, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the last few months. Granted, this mostly has to do with bigger-picture items, such as jobs, future careers and potential living arrangements, but also with cooking. Whereas June was a culinary celebration of all food, July has been somewhat (albeit necessarily) restrained. It got brutally hot, which is usually less of a cooking deterrent for me, but even worse, all that food rejoicing started to show, and I was not pleased about that at all. Especially since I didn’t have safety net of moving back to Ohio, where I would make up for all my summer indulgence, to fall back on.Fresh Basil Washed and Dried Basil

And so rather than just hope that the metabolism I’ve had for all of my life to suddenly pick up and allow me to eat whatever I want, I cut down on my baking habit (weep) and joined a gym (double weep). Neither of those things were fun, but I’m glad I did. The only thing that seems to have suffered is this site: without a slew of birthdays or potlucks to bake for, I haven’t had much in the way of subject matter.Doing weird stuff to basilCreamStrainingHowever, I did make basil ice cream for Fathers’ Day, which was only, um, a month ago… I’d like to say I’ve been too busy going to the gym, but come on. Regardless, I had kept this recipe on my long “to make” list for months, and finally had an excuse to try it out. I was definitely uncertain about how well this would be received by my chocolate-obsessed family, but David’s recipes have always been so amazing that I decided to risk it.Ice BathLemon Zest Basil Ice CreamI’m glad I did, because I was really into it. It’s offbeat, as far as ice cream goes, but still really good. Evidence: everyone in my family, even my younger cousins, to whom this was certainly not marketed towards (but rather, pudding pie), loved it. It even complemented the simple peach and blueberry crisp that was amongst the spread at dessert.


  • I found this ice cream needed a few hours in the freezer after churning before it was firm enough to serve
  • I loved the flavor, so much so that I’d consider upping the basil to 1 1/2 cups, because I found it on the subtle side

Basil Ice Cream

from David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life

1 cup packed basil leaves

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

Pinch of salt

5 egg yolks

1 lemon

  1. Using a food processor, grind the basil leaves with the sugar and one cup of the heavy cream, until the leaves are ground as fine as possible.
  2. Pour half of the mixture through a strainer into a large bowl. Add the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream to the bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat the other half of the basil mixture in a saucepan along with the whole milk and salt over medium heat.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. When the basil mixture is steaming, temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring a bit of it into the eggs, whisking constantly. Gradually add in enough so that the eggs and the mixture are the same temperature. Return the mixture back into the saucepan.
  5. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about five minutes, or until it reaches 170 F.
  6. Pour the custard through the strainer into the bowl with the cream mixture.
  7. Zest the lemon directly into the custard, then cool over an ice bath while stirring.
  8. Chill thoroughly- at least eight hours, but preferably overnight, in a sealed container.
  9. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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