One of our “to grow” items this month is Basil (What to plant in August). It’s easy. It smells good. And, as our new contributor Kristen notes, it transforms into an impressive ice cream. Trust us. You won’t be disappointed.
Check it out.
(Kristin is our newest Contributor con Queso. Read more about Kristin here)
A few years ago a friend asked if I wanted to help start a school garden. At the time I knew less than nothing about gardening, but in a few short weeks, I learned all about amending the soil, fertilizing, drip irrigation, shade structures, organic pest control and on and on and on. The best part though was working with the kids. They always came to the garden excited to be outside and getting dirty. As we would talk about planting this vegetable or that herb, I would ask if they liked to eat these foods. Often we were met with blank stares or lots of heads shaking “nope.”
The interesting thing about kids and gardening, I came to learn, was that when they plant it, feed it and water it they are so much more likely to eat it! So at the end of each season, we would celebrate with a harvest feast. It was always fun coming up with our menu. We had so many successful dishes, but none was even close to the Basil Ice Cream.
Yes, basil ice cream. Kid crowd pleaser.
The kids would never believe me that ice cream made with herbs could taste good. Truthfully, I think teachers had their doubts as well. I felt like a magician pulling that rabbit out of the hat! Every single time, the ice cream was a huge hit. They always asked for seconds! Kids still stop me to ask about that ice cream. I hope they think of it every time they see some basil, and wonder what else they think they might not like but should try anyway.
This ice cream recipe came to me via my sister from “The Sweet Life” by Kate Zuckerman. You can make it with all kinds of good herbs- thyme, mint, lemon verbena, etc. I have also served this ice cream with her Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp- so good!
Basil Ice Cream
1 1/2 oz basil leaves (about 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 (fine mesh strainer, ice bath, ice cream machine)
Wash and dry basil leaves. In a saucepan, heat cream, milk and 1/2 cup of sugar. Once this mixture boils, add basil leaves and remove from heat. Let infuse for 10 minutes.
In mixing bowl, combine egg yolks, egg, salt, skim milk powder and remaining sugar. Whisk for one minute. Use a ladle to slowly mix some of the hot cream into the yolk mixture to temper. Gradually add egg mixture to the hot cream, whisking constantly. Cook custard over medium heat until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Strain the custard through the fine mesh strainer, pushing it through with a spatula or spoon. The basil leaves and any solids will remain in the strainer. Cool the custard immediately in an ice bath, and whisk until cool.
Remove, and cover the custard with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard. Refrigerate for a minimum of two hours.
Churn the custard in your ice cream maker according to instructions until the ice cream holds the lines of the stirrer. It will be soft. Remove to a freezer container, and allow to freeze overnight.
Oh yeah, and also, we just found this recipe for Basil Mascarpone Buttercream Frosted Chocolate Cake. What?! Are you kidding me. This would go well with basil ice cream. And if you think that’s too much basil, you should probably reconsider. Because there’s never too much basil. Never.
And this post is written with love for good people at Garden Collage, a new lifestyle and gardening publication, which features stories on the new role that gardening takes in our modern lifestyle. Be sure to check them out. And share your garden shots on Instagram and Twitter with #GardenCollage. We will! Because we love them. Join us!