Herbal Remedy

Us women, we all know that ice cream can remedy many a woe or sorrow.  Not that I have any (right now), but if you do, try some herb ice cream!

My colleague is on vacation, and she’s lent me her ice cream maker for the duration.  I’ve been meaning to make basil ice cream for a while so that’s what I did yesterday.  I’m not even sure where the recipe came from;  I think it was from one of those TV cooking shows where each day someone else cooks for a group of people.

Basil Ice Cream

250 ml cream
250 ml milk
100 g sugar
2 vanilla pods
2 egg yolks
2 eggs
finely chopped basil, to taste

Bring cream, milk, sugar, scraped out vanilla seeds as well as the pods to the boil.  At this point the original recipe said to beat in the egg yolks and eggs, remove the vanilla pods, and add the vanilla milk.  That left me a bit confused, so I just used my brain, beat together the egg yolks and eggs, and then mixed in the vanilla milk.

The mixture then needs to be beaten over a bain-marie (in a double boiler) until creamy.  The thing is, it didn’t get creamy, just foamy, so I wasn’t sure whether with the confusing instructions something had gone wrong after all.  I started out beating by hand, then reverted to the electric mixer when creamy didn’t happen.  After about 15 minutes I gave up and just left it as it was.

The next step is to pour the mixture through a sieve into a cold bowl and let cool.  I didn’t pour it through a sieve as I didn’t understand what it was supposed to do.   When cooled down, add basil – I used 8 large and 8 small leaves -, and put ice cream maker to use.

When pouring the mixture into the ice cream maker, make sure to scrape every bit of vanilla in there as well, as the vanilla really is the best bit.  Most of the recipes I’ve seen said 45 minutes in the ice cream maker should do, but this one took about 1 hour and 20 minutes until the consistency visibly changed.  As you can see in the pictures the consistency of the liquid mixture in the beginning doesn’t seem to differ that much from the consistency after the ice cream came out of the machine.  Also, my favourite kitchen appliance, the mini shredder, didn’t seem to have chopped the basil leaves as finely as I would have liked them, so next time I might chop it by hand.

This morning I went straight to the freezer and tried a teaspoonful – mmmmh…!  I tried it before it went into the freezer last night and thought it might be a touch too sweet, but this morning, fully frozen, it tasted great.  The vanilla is very dominant, and the basil nicely balances the sugar.  I must say I expected it to look creamier, maybe that’s got something to do with my initial problem to get the liquid ingredients creamy.

Still, I will definitely make this again, and I’ll very likely also try it with different herbs.  I’d like to be prepared, as one or the other woe is bound to come along sooner or later…

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