Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Basil infused lemon ice cream

We have a lot of basil in our garden, somehow this year I've managed to grow more of it than I normally use (there seems to be forever a jar of pesto in the fridge!), which just means that I've become a bit more creative in how I use it, or (most of the time) just throw it into dishes more often. It added an extra dimension to a stir fry of thinly sliced kangaroo (marinated briefly in soy, sambal oelek and garlic), mushrooms, a red pepper from the garden and jasmine rice - its stronger aniseed notes went really well with the asian flavours in the wok. It was such a simple delicious dinner, I'm no longer bound by Italian cooking when thinking of how to use my basil! I have purple basil as well, but tend to use the green basil more often purely because I have more of it, it's thrived where the purple basil has been much more subdued (though its a very pretty addition to any garden!).

The creation of a new ice cream flavour follows a pattern in my house. I have full cream milk and cream in my fridge for some reason (which I dont normally have - usually hilo and NO cream!), and there will be some pantry items or fruit which need using. This time I had a lemon, and this worked nicely with the theme for this months Sweet Adventures Blog Hop being lemons! I assumed there would be many lemony cakes, curds and tarts so I didn't want to go down that road. Ice cream it would be! I then had a thought of including basil in with the lemon - I must have seen it somewhere before and subconsciously remembered it, but I thought that would be something a little different!
What I ended up with was a really interesting flavoured ice cream, totally delicious! You get hints of lemon and basil, but together they almost taste a bit like spearmint! It was not a sweet ice cream but really refreshing, definitely for use as a palate cleanser, or a light after dinner treat. I think this would be fabulous as a sorbet, you could get alot more sharpness of lemon into the mix then (I was too worried about the mixture curdling - I wasn't keen on making cheese!).

Heres how I did it... note that normally I would use more cream, but I ended up having equal quantities of both. For a creamier ice cream use more, or all cream.

350ml cream
350ml full fat milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg (or 2 really small ones)
zest of 1 lemon
Tops of 3 or 4 basil bunches

1) Put the cream, milk, basil and lemon rind into a saucepan to warm up - don't bring to the boil.

2) Beat the sugar and egg together until pale and ribbony.

3) Pour a spoonful of the warm milk/cream mixture into the eggs and incorporate well, then start pouring the rest in, beating the whole time (you don't want the eggs to scramble!).

4) With a slotted spoon, discard the basil and lemon zest, and pour into your ice cream machine and churn until its thickened. If you want soft serve style ice cream then serve this now! I found that the mixture was slightly grainy/icy and would have benefited from being whipped in the mixer, however it was about 11:30pm and I wasn't feeling like it!

5) Pour into covered containers and freeze until you're ready to use them!

Its worth noting that, upon speaking to others who make ice cream, it is harder when you get it from the freezer than store bought stuff. You just have to take it out of the freezer 10 minutes before you want to eat it, and not forget about it!


  1. Sounds amazing what a combo!
    My basil dyed off months ago, so your lucky. I know what you mean about the italian theme but I also toss it through stir frys and salads.

  2. Hey jaxs

    If you add alcohol to your mix it will not set as hard either because alcohol dosnt freeze. Vodka is my choice when you dont want it to flavour the sorbet/icecream. Also the higher the sugar content the less hard it will go when frozen also. So probs not a good idea for kids alcohol and sugar but it never hurt us katanning kids much!!

  3. I love the sound of your ice cream. Lemon and basil are such great flavours.

    As Alyce suggested, adding alcohol to your ice cream ensures that it doesn't freeze too hard. I tend to use vodka for this so it doesn't interfere with the flavours of the ice cream.

  4. Thanks Alyce/Jennifer, good tip! Dunno why I didn't think of that, cos I always think about adding it to caramel sauce so it doesn't freeze.. ill do that next time!

    Michelle - I can't use it in salad anymore, they taste way too strong n bitter in their old age! But when cooked they're still delish!

  5. Yum, this sounds like a fantastic combination, I'm also told basil and raspberry goes really well together, I guess it must be the tartness combined with the aniseed that works so well. I've got a glut of basil at the moment too - it's funny isn't, when it's in abundance I don't know what to do with it all and when it's too cold to grow I crave it immensely. :)

    ps - Thanks everyone for the heads up about the alcohol! Good stuff.

  6. Erin thanks for the idea of Rasperry and basil, I have some in the freezer, might have to blitz some up n have a go, see how it works!

  7. Looks great Jax. I love adding a dash of vodka into the mix. A recent revelation to me as well.

  8. I always seem to have vodka in the freezer or stashed in the cupboard, so might as well use it in ice cream rather than drink it! Or do both, whatevs :P

  9. This is a delicious combination... I have amended my recipe to include passionfruit and it was amazing!!!!

  10. This must have smelled amazing! I like lemon in anything so with ice cream... perfect!

  11. Mmm - this sounds very refreshing and fresh. I love the idea of basil with lemon - the basil would 'ground' the ice cream a bit.

  12. yea its a real delicious combo i need to try this
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