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Basil Ice Cream

It been close to 10 years since I’ve made this ice cream flavor. Since I have an abundance of basil growing in my garden, I thought it was hightime I made it again.

Some recipes call for puréeing the milk mixture or chopping the basil. I found this to be a needless step if I just added a few more bruised leaves and let it steep a bit longer. 

Another direction I kept reading in recipes was to heat the custard to 175 degrees F or even 180 degrees F. I found that heating it any higher than 168 degrees F would cause it to crudle.

I’ll be serving a scoop of sublime summer ice cream with slices of David Lebovitz’s Moelleux of Summer Fruits [1]. Makes about 3 ½ cups.

2 large sprigs fresh basil
1 1/2 cups whole milk, preferably organic
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided, preferably organic
3/4 cup (5.25 oz / 150 g) granulated sugar, divided in half
Large pinch kosher salt
5 large egg yolks

Special Equipment
Instant-read thermometer
Ice cream maker

Slap the leaves between the palm of your hands to release the essential oils. In a 2-quart saucepan add the basil, milk, 1 cup cream, and half the sugar. Heat to 190 degrees F stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let steep for an hour.

Have ready a large metal bowl and fine-mesh sieve sitting over a bowl of ice water. In a medium bowl whisk together yolks and remaining sugar. Add the beaten yolk/sugar mixture to the cooled milk mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk until the custard registers 165°F on an instant thermometer (do not let boil) or until the custard coats the back of a spoon.

Immediately remove from heat and pour through the fine-mesh sieve into the metal bowl. Stir in remaining ½ cup cream. Keep stirring until cold, 10 to 15 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or better yet overnight.

Freeze custard in an ice cream maker following manufacture’s instructions. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 2 hours.