My first ice cream of the season! I wanted to make a strawberry-basil ice cream last year, but strawberry season was over when I finally bought my ice cream maker. So I've been waiting anxiously to make it until this year. This was my second batch. The first batch tasted just as great, but I left the strawberries in quarters, and ended up not liking the texture. This time, I mashed the strawberries, and it worked much better - they were evenly distributed but it still had a little texture so you knew there were strawberries in it.
We ate this ice cream on a hot day (as you can see from the photo - it was rapidly melting) and the best description of it is refreshing. Very refreshing. You may think basil is an odd thing to add to a dessert, but I love herbs in sweets. The basil is a nice and refreshing background flavor that really takes the ice cream to the next level. It makes it more complex and plays nicely off of the sweet strawberries. This recipe will make about a quart of ice cream.
Strawberry-basil ice cream
for the strawberries:
1 cup hulled and thinly sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
for the ice cream base:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh sweet basil leaves
pinch of sea salt
Cook the strawberry mixture over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the strawberries are softened, about 4-5 minutes. Then mash with a potato masher or back of a fork until they are roughly mashed. Reduce heat and simmer until they are slightly reduced. Pour into a bowl (or better yet, a small liquid measuring cup*), cover, and refrigerate.
Add the cream, milk, sugar, and sea salt to a pot. Finely chop the basil, bruising and pressing it to release the oils. Add it to the pot. Warm the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring often. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for about 15-20 minutes.
Pour the mixture through a find sieve into a bowl (or large liquid measuring cup) to strain out the basil. Press the basil leaves with a wooden spoon to release any extra liquid and as much flavor as possible. Cover the mixture and refrigerate.
Refrigerate until the ingredients are very cold - at least a few hours or overnight. Begin by churning and freezing the base until it reaches about the halfway point. Then add in the strawberries and continue to churn and freeze until it reaches your desired consistency. Place in a freezer container and freeze for another few hours.
* I find this much easier to pour into my ice cream machine.
What was I cooking one year ago?: spiced lamb and pistachio kofta wraps
Two years ago?: five bean salad
Three?: roasted cream of mushroom soup