The dog days of summer are here

Basil Ice Cream

The hot and humid weather has sequestered me indoors. I really hate being under the sun, you would think I was a vampire. But a person’s got to eat and I had to go grocery shopping.
Speaking of groceries, a big new Kroger just opened in our neighborhood and I was so excited to see what the buzz was all about. I probably shouldn’t have gone during the first week of opening. I was less than impressed because what I saw was more of the same mediocre stuff in copious quantities which really made my teeth grind. I also waited 5 minutes behind the seafood counter to buy shrimps but left empty-handed – I counted 4 staff that were “busy” doing other stuff like packing things into containers while ignoring me and the line that was forming behind me.
So much for my excitement about buying all my groceries in one place, I couldn’t find the brand of organic cream and milk I use – so I left. I’ll give them another try in a few more weeks.

So, Whole Foods, I guess I can’t quit you – but you are so bad for my wallet. 😦

I wish organic didn’t always equate with pricey.

Anyway, I was keeping an eye out for when basil became abundant towards the end of summer so I can make basil ice cream and it so happened when I walked into Whole Foods  that I spotted a 4-oz container of organic basil by the tomatoes.

Some of you all might say “Ewwww!”, and I would have said the same too until I tasted fresh mint with chocolate here and now I’m more than willing to give herbs a chance in the land of sweets.

Meyer Lemon Curd and Berry Tart

I’ve been on a tart-making frenzy earlier this week. It’s not that I’m tired of the macarons but I felt we needed to be apart every now and then. Basil ice cream goes very well with this meyer lemon curd tart {what could be my favorite tart to eat and make}. I’ve decided to dress it quite a bit with some raspberries and blueberries and yes, it tastes sublime.

I also wanted to recreate this cherry clafoutis I had at Balthazar a few years back. Yes, those tarts still haunt my dreams. Judging from how the cherries looked after baking I think the cherries needed to be “compoted” a bit before adding to the tart.

Cherry – meyer lemon curd tart

Basil Ice Cream

from “The Sweet Life” by Kate Zuckerman

1.5 ounces basil leaves or 30 leaves
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
8 egg yolks
1 whole egg
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup skim milk powder

Special tools and pans

Fine-mesh strainer
Ice bath

1.5 quarts churned ice cream

Infuse the cream
Wash and dry the basil leaves. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the cream, milk, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Once the cream begins to boil, add the basil leaves, remove the pot from the heat, and set it aside for 10 minutes.

Make the creme anglaise
In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, egg, salt, skim milk powder, and remaining sugar and briskly whisk for 1 minute. Using a ladle, slowly whisk some of the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture to warm it. Gradually pour the warmed egg mixture into the hot cream, whisking constantly as you pour. Cook the custard over medium heat, stirring continuously and scraping the bottom with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh strainer and remove the basil leaves.

Chill the creme anglaise and churn it.
Place the basil creme anglaise (ice cream base) in the ice bath to cool completely. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill a minimum of 2 hours and up to 2 days before churning it in an ice cream machine. Churn the creme anglaise in an ice cream maker according to the machine manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream is finished once it has increased in volume and it holds the lines from the stirring mechanism and mounds like softly whipped cream. Transfer to the freezer for 4 hours to attain a scoopable consistency.

This ice cream is best if you serve it 4 to 6 hours after churning, but will keep in the freezer for up to 1 week.

 For printable recipe.

Cooking Notes

You all must be wondering why there is skim milk powder in this recipe.
The control of ice crystal formation is an essential part of making ice cream. Large ice crystals that are discernible by the eye or tongue is undesirable to the overall taste and enjoyment of ice cream. Ingredients play a factor in lowering the freezing point of water. The first of this ingredients are the soluble ones such as salt and sugar. Another ingredient is dairy and eggs, their proteins get in the way of ice crystal formation when their proteins absorb water and form a gel. Skim milk powder is a convenient way to add more protein and is used in good quality commercial ice cream.

Fat, also coming from dairy and eggs, blocks ice crystals from growing in size and is essential in holding air pockets to lighten texture and increase volume. They are also natural emulsifiers that gives a creamy texture to ice cream. Too much cream though, might cause a grainy ice cream as the whipping blade of the ice cream maker might create a concentration of fat molecules to group together and create hard butterfat.

Go ahead, make some ice cream before the summer is over. Actually, I don’t mind making ice cream in the fall and winter – especially vanilla- so I can have it with a nice warm apple pie.

Can you tell I can’t wait for summer to be over. 😉

14 thoughts on “The dog days of summer are here

  1. I hate it when it is muggy, but I don’ mind a little heat as long as I don’t have to stand in the sun… Basil is so versatile and delicious. I bet this ice cream is haevenly! What gorgeous tarts.



  2. Trade you that meyer lemon curd tart for a bushel of fresh basil. I’m trimming it for the second time this summer and that was my “outing” for today.

  3. Sorry about the market. WF sounds much better- Especially if it keeps you baking fabulous desserts like this. Yum!

  4. Basil ice cream…sound interesting, in a very good way! I’d definitely try it!

    Those tarts look amazing Veron! I wish I had your way with pretty baked things 🙂

  5. Hmm… Krogers, in my opinion, tend to be a little light on the selection and customer service :/ I normally go with more regional chains because they do a better job of catering to the local neighborhood.

    That basil ice cream actually sounds wonderful, although not as good as the tarts. Plus, tarts are just so very pretty 🙂

  6. I just finished a sour cherry and blueberry pie baking frenzy! I’ve been making basil ice cream for several years. It’s surprisingly good! Very refreshing. I’ll have to compare the two… have been trying to clear room in my freezer for the bowls all summer, unsuccessfully. BTW, another way to keep ice cream, sorbet, etc from hard freeze is by putting some alcohol in…

  7. I feel the same way about Whole Foods! I was in there the other day saying, “I wish I could do ALL my shopping here, but it’s just too expensive!” That basil ice cream sounds heavenly and might be just what I need to make for my end of summer ice cream!

  8. I was reading the recipe and wondering whynthere was powdered milk! Thanks for sharing the lovely and unique recipe. I’ve got a recipe for some lovely candied tomatoes. I wonder if they would go together! 🙂

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