"A man taking basil from a woman will love her always." -Sir Thomas Moore
So where is Sir Thomas Moore when you need him? ;-) Yes my friends, you read right...Glace à la Basilic or Basil Ice Cream...and it was darn good considering it was my maiden voyage! I know you are thinking "YUK! Basil belongs in pasta or a caprese (tomato mozzarella) salad or a pizza but not under any circumstances does it belong in ice cream!" I would have no doubt agreed...until now....
My source of inspiration for this savory wonder came from a dessert I had not too long ago at Le Pré Verre, a bistro du vin in my hood. Fraises mariné au persil (strawberries marinated in parsley - pictured to the left) with, you guessed it, parsley ice cream!
Also, a huge bunch of deliciously aromatic basil permeated the kitchen as soon as I returned from the market. I only needed half of it for that evening’s dinner and was contemplating what to do with the other half when that little lightbulb over my head illuminated, then whacked me on the head exclaiming “Freeze me you idiot! And you call yourself a chef?!” I don't call myself a chef but that's another story. So I chopped the remaining leaves, plugged in my new best friend, Monsieur Krups, and let’er rip.… an hour later, voila, glace à la basilic!
Here is the recipe for vanilla ice cream. I used this as the base for the fig ice cream yesterday then just added chopped fig as the mixture was churning. For basil (or savory) ice cream (pictured to the right), I recommend leaving out the vanilla bean as it makes it a bit too sweet. If you want the ice cream to really take on the color of the herb or whatever you are adding (as it is above with the parsley), let it steep in the milk/cream mixture at the start (see step 1. below).
Glace à la Vanille or Good ‘Ol Vanilla Ice Cream
*this recipe makes double the amount I can use at one time in my little ice cream machine so I just press some plastic wrap directly on the surface (so no skin forms) and chill until ready to freeze. This is the traditional French recipe but I think next time I will take Stephanie’s recommendation and try Alton Brown’s mad scientist recipe.
- 500 ml (approx 18 oz) milk
- 500 ml (approx 18 oz) cream
- 8 egg yolks (10/4/05 UPDATE: I've lowered this to 4-5 eggs
depending on the size. thanks David!)
- 200 g (approx 7 oz) sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, all put into pot
1. Put milk, cream and vanilla bean into a cold pot and place it on the stove.
2. Bring this mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Set aside and let cool.
3. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a non-reactive bowl until it is pale yellow. this is called “blanchir” or to whiten.
4. slowly add the hot milk/cream mixture to the yolks/sugar mixture, stirring constantly.
5. Pour this mixture back into the pot and return to the stove top. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly, making sure you scrape the inside corners of the pot.
6. The cream is ready when it is “nappant” or naps the back of the spoon. Run your finger down the back of a spoon and if the mixture doesn’t fill in, it is ready. The picture below is an example of “nappant”.
7. Strain through a chinois (fine strainer) into an ice bath or a bowl set over another bowl of ice. Stir the mixture - this will cool it down quickly.
8. When the mixture is room temp, add it to the ice cream machine and let’er rip!
*note: I added the chopped basil to the mixture after it was in the ice cream machine but if you want it to take on the same color, add it in step 1.
-an example of "nappant"