Sweet Basil Ice Cream


It looks like Chris will be taking the kids to a family reunion this weekend, leaving me alone to work on setting up the house. I’m bummed to be missing out on the reunion because I would like to get to know Chris’s extended family better, but I can’t hide my excitement to get serious junk done without any distractions. I’m hoping to get some painting, sewing and photography done this weekend. I have a bunch of tutorials I’d like to share with you once everything is all set up.

I did take the time yesterday to make something fun: Sweet Basil Ice Cream. Last year some time, I went to Vinto (you must go there if you’re in SLC) and ordered a gelato sampler plate. On it was a sweet basil gelato that I’ve not been able to get over, it was that good. I used the first recipe that came up on Epicurious. I always look there first for recipes. Pinterest second. Where do you usually find your favorite recipes?

Unfortunately I hadn’t frozen the bowl, so I had to wait for what seemed like an eternity for the bowl to freeze.

This recipe is delicious. I may have used more basil than it called for, but it’s so good. The strong flavor makes it so you really don’t need to eat a whole lot before you’re satisfied. See the recipe with my notes below.

Sweet Basil Ice Cream

Gourmet 2004, via Epicurious

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (coursely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup well-chilled heavy cream (I would use 3/4 cup cream)

In a 2-quart heavy saucepan bring milk, basil, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt to a boil, stirring, then remove from heat and let steep 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender (reserve saucepan) and blend until basil is finely ground, about 1 minute. It’ll be frothy!

Beat together yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 1 minute. Add milk mixture in a stream, beating until combined well. Pour mixture into reserved saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture coats back of spoon and registers 175°F on thermometer (do not let boil). Immediately remove from heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice water and stir until cold, 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to use only a wooden spoon and to watch the mixture carefully. If you have a frothy mixture, you could have boiling below and not see it until it’s too late.

Stir in cream and freeze in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 2 hours. It’s fantastic fresh, but letting the ice cream mature is good, too. Especially if you plan on having leftovers. 

I”ll be making this recipe again, but I’ll definitely be adding more cream to smooth out the basil flavor a bit more. I think I’ll also add some lemon extract for a Lemon Basil surprise. This would be so good with graham crackers and a salted chocolate sauce!

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    1. Erica S. says:

      This sounds so divine. I was reading the recipe thinking chocolate would be a perfect addition for this, and then noticed your foot note. I’m going to add this to my ice cream to-do list!

    2. Winter says:

      This is perfect! My hubby needs to make a dish featuring an herb he is growing for his Herb Horticulture class at culinary school and he’s been tossing around the idea of making a basil gelato. I will pass this on to him for sure.

      By the way, the lemon basil combo is fabulous. I make a lemon basil layer cake and it’s always a hit! (Here’s the link if you’re curious: http://reddparty.blogspot.com/2012/04/lemon-basil-layer-cake-with-lemon-cream.html)

      Thanks for sharing! And good luck with a distraction free weekend!

    3. Melissa says:

      Thanks for the link to the cake recipe! I think I may have to make it. THIS SECOND. It looks amazing!

    4. phil says:

      this one looks delicious !!!!!!
      lavander , verbena , pumpkin , licorice … so many good cool flavours …

    5. Stefanie says:

      I always check out Smitten Kitchen first. She has some really amazing recipies…especially for sweets!

    6. Melissa says:

      I love smitten kitchen! Two peas and their pod and This Week for Dinner also are among my favorite food bloggers.

    7. Katherine says:

      I always check TasteSpotting! Not only is the website simple and beautiful, but it’s “random” feature is cool to search for recipes when I’m feeling spontaneous about what to make for meals.

    8. Basil ice cream is one of my favorites right now, and I keep saying I’m going to learn how to make it. So thanks for handing out the recipe. :)

    9. Hannah says:

      That sounds sooooo good. I never would imagine using basil in ice cream but I get how that might work. Thanks for sharing!

      Hannah from I am a lifestyle blog

    10. Agnes says:

      This looks absolutely amazing and so unexpected. I really am prompted to try this for myself. Thanks for sharing dear!

    11. Dara says:

      This was really good! I agree the sweet basil flavor is a tiny bit on the strong side but I wouldn’t change the recipe any. It was creamy and had the perfect amount of sweetness as well. My husband and daughter, however, HATED it. Husband isn’t a foodie… ‘Nuff said. My daughter is a bit more adventurous though and she just didn’t like the basil flavor. (That’s ok. I’m not a huge cilantro fan.) Because this recipe only makes about 3 cups worth I will definitely be making it again… for myself!

    12. […] Sweet Basil Ice Cream – I just cannot get enough of basil in the summertime, so why not make it into a dessert? […]

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