Basil Ice Cream
Today is my birthday (the big 2-7), and all I feel like doing is sleeping in and eating basil ice cream. Instead, I will be getting up at the crack of dawn to board a plane to the West Coast for a week (yay!), so I’ll keep today’s post short and sweet.
I first tried and made basil ice cream back in culinary school. It was my chef instructor’s favorite dessert, and he even went as far as to say that if he were on his deathbed, this ice cream would be his last dying wish.
I totally get it.
If you’ve never had basil in a sweet application before, you’re in for a treat–and don’t worry, this ice cream does not taste like pesto. I’m pretty sure that was my biggest concern when I first heard the words ‘basil’ and ‘ice cream’ used in the same sentence.
But it totally works.
And it is really, really good.
If you’re a fan of mint ice cream, I can almost guarantee that you will like this. Basil is related to the mint family, so it has a similar cooling effect in ice cream.
The trick to making this is to prepare a classic ice cream base, and infuse this with blanched, pureed basil leaves. Once the ice cream has infused, you simply strain the mixture (to remove any larger basil leave chunks) and churn it away in your ice cream machine.
For some reason, my basil leaves wilted and browned fairly quickly once I got them from the market, which is why my ice cream is a duller, dark green color…but this should yield a relatively light colored, green ice cream. The flavor will be the same regardless, so don’t worry if your ice cream is a slightly different hue.
Hope everyone has a great weekend and I’ll be back soon with California pictures!
Basil Ice Cream
- 5 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (480 mL) whole milk
- 1 cup (240 mL) heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1½ ounces fresh basil leaves
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar aggressively until the mixture is thick and pale yellow in color. It should fall from the whisk in thick ribbons.
- Combine the milk, cream, and vanilla in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat immediately, and temper it slowly into the egg mixture, whisking with your other hand.
- Return mixture to the saucepan and cook slowly over low heat until custard base thickens slightly, and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and place over an ice bath. Continue to stir every few minutes until the mixture is cold.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (the salt will keep the basil leaves very green). Blanch the basil leaves, drain in a fine-meshed sieve over an ice bath, and squeeze out any excess moisture. Puree the basil leaves in a small food processor, and stir into the cooled ice cream base. Allow the mixture to infuse for several hours or overnight.
- Strain the ice cream base through a fine-meshed sieve to remove any larger pieces of basil leaves. Freeze the ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s directions. Place the ice cream in an airtight container and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Freeze for 4 to 6 hours or until firm. Allow ice cream to soften just slightly before serving.
41 Comments on “Basil Ice Cream”
First off, in an odd strike of coincidence, we have the same birthday! Secondly, what flavor do you think this would pair well with? I noticed that the basil doesn’t stick around on my taste buds for very long and am looking for a companion flavor to add a little oomph.
I had made a basil ice cream in the past and wanted to try a different base. I thoroughly enjoyed this base for the final product but next time I may substitute honey or cut the sugar by a quarter cup. It also pairs amazingly with walnuts.
Hello, nice recipe! Looks yummy!
I just want to know, what machine do you use to make this ice cream?
Hi Michael! Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I used the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment (for my stand mixer). I hope this helps!
I just finished making the ice cream this morning (following letting the base sit in the fridge over night). The little bit I had was delicious. I even took some of the remaining bits of basil from the base and caramelized them per the suggestion of one of the other commenters.
I can’t wait to give this a try for real later today. The little bit I had and this may replace my favorite of chocolate (which is hard to imagine).
Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe.
This recipe was amazing! I took the strained out basil bits and caramelized them in a bit of oil then sprinkled the crumbles on top of the ice cream – it was divine! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Yay! So happy to hear that, and loved your tip of caramelizing the leftover basil–brilliant!
I hope you had the most fabulous birthday, lady! Love the west coast!!! So I’m just a little jelly you got a whole week there 😉 I just turned the big 2-7, too. A great age me thinks. Hope it’s a wonderfully successful year for you! Now, I need to go make some basil ice cream!
Thank you friend!! I love the West Coast too–makes me wonder why I don’t live there every time I visit, haha. YAY for similar b-days! 🙂 Thank you so much!
Happy now belated birthday! Hope you’re living it up on the west coast!! 😛
I made basil ice cream a few years ago and it remains one of my favorite ice cream flavors of all time!
Thanks so much friend! 🙂
Happy belated birthday, m’lady! I hope you are enjoying all the West Coast things and many scoops of yummy ice cream. 🙂
Happy Birthday!! This looks amazing, and you’ve definitely convinced me to give basil ice cream a try. What do you think about cilantro ice cream–would that be taking things too far? It’s my favorite herb, but I’m not sure how it would be in a dessert…
Thanks so much Becky! I actually have heard of cilantro lime cream, so you could definitely try it! I’m very curious now too!
Happy Birthday!!! Your photos are amazing and this ice cream looks incredible! You are brilliant!
Happy Birthday, pretty lady! And yeah, sleeping in with ice cream is a baller move for a Birthday. But I guess a plane ride is pretty boss too! Have a blast!
Happy birthday! You’ve definitely made me curious about basil ice cream. Sometimes the strangest things are the best.
Happy Birthday! Hope you have fun celebrating 🙂
I’m very intrigued by this basil ice cream. It reminds me of the time I made avocado cheesecake in culinary school (I thought I was going to hate but it wasn’t bad at all). Can’t wait to try this!
Happy Birthday! I feel like there have been many birthdays in the food blogging community recently. (I feel kind of left out… only ten months till mine rolls around again!). This ice cream looks so pretty. Basil is one of my favorite flavors and it sure lends a lovely color to this dessert!
Happy birthday! You share the same birthday as my hubs. Lots of celebrating going on in these parts this weekend 🙂 I am FAH-REAKING out over this ice cream because I love sweet basil things. One of my fav treats is a sweet basil smoothie, and this ice cream is so in line with that. Love it. Weird question for you: what kind of ice cream scoop do you use? Your scoops look perfect, and I have tried several different scoopers and hate them all, haha.
I am LOVING this! Can’t wait to try it. Happy birthday lady!
Thank you so much Liz!
Happy birthday and the ice cream looks amazing! I’ve never done basil “sweet” but I’m sure I’d love it.
You have to try it! 🙂 Thanks for the wishes Liz!
So interesting!! What a fun recipe! Happy birthday, Laura!!
Thanks Steph! 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend!
Happy Birthday Laura!
On my list to try! And Happppppyyyyyy Birthday!!!!!!!
Wahoo! Thanks so much friend!
first of all: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! yayayayayayyyy!!!!! sorry you have to get on the plane, but maybe the stewardesses will get the whole plane to sing to you?
second of all: this ice cream is gorgeous and why does it have to happen, like, immediately after i’ve decided that my basil is DEAD?! i’m the worst basil mama ever. always have been. (i’d totally try again though JUST for this ice cream.)
Thanks Molly!!! I have wifi right now, so I’m happy as a clam. The stewardesses didn’t sing to me, but I’m on Virgin America so there was a fun, groovy safety video at the beginning of the plane ride with lots of singing.
I’m a horrible basil mama too! I got this stuff at the farmer’s market. Can’t grow anything for the life of me, HA!
Happy Birthday and I do LOVE mint ice cream. I will have to try out this new version with basil!
I think you’ll really like this then–it is definitely different, but it gets addictive quickly. Thanks for the birthday wishes Meagan!
Happy birthday!! 🙂 This is such a beautiful ice cream and I can only imagine that it tastes as good as it looks! Hope you have a great trip 🙂
First, happy birthday!! I am hopping the cali trip is an all fun birthday kind of trip and I cant wait for some photos!!
Second, I ave to admit that basil in ice cream scares me a little, but no enough to try! I am so down to try it!!
Have a great day and a fun week! 🙂
Thank you so much Tieghan! I lost photos of recipes I was planning to share next week (wahhh!), so you WILL see lots of pictures, haha! 🙂
HAPPY HAPPPY birthday! I love basil and haven’t had it in a sweet dessert before, but I’m game. Have a good trip!
Thanks so much Bri!!
Happy Birthday! Also, this looks delicious as well as unusual, so I can’t wait to give it a go!
Let me know if you try it Rachel! 🙂