Basil Ice Cream

June 16, 2014

The basil ice cream is steeping on the stove just now:  step one of the process.  I like to keep this in the freezer as a staple this time of year.  Fresh berries go up a notch with a small scoop of this special surprise at breakfast time!

My parents used the old-fashioned crank ice cream freezer, and it was always a treat in the summer time.  Our family of four worked together, with Daddy always making it fun!  After my mother had finished cooking it on the stove and it was poured carefully into the silver-colored, cylindrical container that fit into the middle of the freezer, it was almost ready.  The ice would be layered with the rock salt, again, carefully, so as to keep the inner container perfectly balanced.  When the ice reached the top, sprinkled again with salt, it was ready to crank.  The three of us took turns turning, (my mother being exempt, since she had done the stirring of the cooked custard base).  It did seem to take a long time, but our watering mouths and anticipation made it OK.  Besides, Daddy was there, cheering us on.  When the turning became more labored, it was TIME.  Again, carefully lifting it, Daddy carried it inside to the kitchen counter, wiped the lid, then gently pulled out the paddles.  They were then our’s – my sister’s and mine – to lick until all ice cream was gone.  Sometimes it was chocolate and sometimes it was peach or strawberry, but it was always wonderful.  My process isn’t the same, since I have a Cuisenart, but the results end up pretty much the same.  Except that you’d better believe we didn’t get it for breakfast.  Who knew that was possible back then?  Aaaah, change.  It really is OK.  🙂

Basil Ice Cream

2 cups half and half

1/2 cup sugar, divided

1/4 cup basil (pressed into the measuring cup)

pinch salt

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup whipping cream

Bring to a boil the basil, half and half and 1/4 cup sugar.   Remove from heat; cover, and allow to steep for about a half hour.  Squeeze basil leaves with your hands into the pot.  Beat yolks on medium speed in the mixer.  Add 1/4 cup sugar, then beat till thick and pale, for one minute.  Pour the half and half mixture, in a slow, steady stream, into the egg mixture, while continuing to mix.  Then pour back into the pot.  Place onto the stove again and cook, stirring constantly, till the mixture coats the back of a spoon.  Chill in fridge.  Then freeze.

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