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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Basil Mint Ice Cream

My Sister-in-law was visiting when I made this ice cream. For reasons we won't go into here (can you say libations??), she only had the opportunity to enjoy one spoonful.  That one little tiny scoop, that morsel almost too small for a mouse, presented itself so boldly, so decadently, so triumphantly... she has claimed this to be her new favorite ice cream!  Thus, this recipe must live on.

Once again, this is not an entirely new concept -a savory herb being used in a sweet.  But it is another Fat and Happy original!  I wouldn't necessarily want a humongous dish of this- but it's so fresh and creamy with a hint of mint to brighten the nutty-basil overtone... a small dish is just the perfect size.

This is a superb dessert for a holiday party.  I paired it with Orange Anise Cookies at Easter, but I could see a strawberry pie with a reduced balsamic drizzle or dress it down with a simple Chocolate Bubble Cookie.
But plan ahead so you are not limited to just one spoon!!!!

Tips and Techniques:  Dress this up with a few leaves of basil when you serve it.

Basil Mint Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup half and half
2 jumbo yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 cup loosely packed basil, chiffonade
1 stem of mint leaves, whole (about 5 leaves)

Begin to warm the cream and half and half over medium heat.  Whip the yolks with the sugar until fluffy, pale and doubled in size.  Temper the eggs with the warm cream.  Now add the eggs into the cream pot, stirring with your whisk. 

Scrape the vanilla bean, add to the cream and eggs.  Use your whisk to help distribute the vanilla.  Add in the basil and the mint, Be sure to stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook over medium -high heat until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon.   (Run your finger on the back of a spoon, if it's thickened- you'll be able to draw a line in it.)

Remove from heat and cool in an ice bath, stirring often.  Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours.  This will allow the basil to steep and will produce a creamier ice cream.

Place in your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturers directions.  Home made ice cream does not last as long as the store-bought, preservative-laden kind; it's best to enjoy within a week.

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