Oh. My. God. Basil ice cream is the jam. I can’t believe just how good it is. I adore basil as a herb in savory dishes but as the star in a cold, creamy ice cream, it is truly amazing. The ice cream is smooth and luscious without any of those pesky ice crystals thanks to the cream cheese and corn syrup- while still being bright, vibrant and refreshing thanks to the lemon-y basil. This recipe is adapted from Jeni Bauer’s cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. I love Jeni’s ice cream and am so happy that I was able to live in Columbus, OH, where all her ice cream dreams originated. I combined her Sweet Basil and Honeyed Pine Nut Ice Cream with her Lemon and Blueberry Frozen Yogurt to create a Blueberry Basil Ice Cream. Pictured above is a blueberry swirled version of the basil ice cream but I could eat plain basil ice cream all summer long- it’s that good.
Blueberry Basil Ice Cream
makes 1 about quart
Total Time: about 1 hour
• 2 cups whole milk
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
• A large handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly torn into large pieces
• 1 3/4 cups blueberry sauce (recipe below, optional addition)
In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to create a smooth slurry. In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth. Fill another large bowl with ice and water for later.
Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4 quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Gradually whisk the hot milk into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the basil. Pour mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand until cold, about 30 minutes.
Strain out the basil. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy, about 30 minutes. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, folding in the blueberry mixture as you go. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
Makes 1 3/4 cups
• 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
• 3/4 cup sugar
Mix blueberries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries are tender and the sauce is thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool, refrigerating until cold before using.