28 May 2012

Summertime Flavours ... Cinnamon-Basil Ice Cream

Silent Bob is the biggest fan of ice cream that I have ever known. He has been known to sit down with an entire half-gallon and slurp his way blythely toward the bottom of the container before being shamed into saving some for others. He's an ice cream fiend!

Since summer is on its way I got thinking about his ice cream cravings.  So, this week, when we made our pilgrimage to the town library, I brought home a book devoted to ice cream and cold desserts. I've been leafing though it for the past few days, bookmarking yummy ice cream, sorbet, and sherbet recipes.

The decision on the first recipe was a tough one, but when I saw beautiful fresh organic basil in the market today, I grabbed it. There is this interesting recipe in the book that has you steep basil leaves and a cinnamon stick in simmering milk. Then you make a rich custard with the milk, chill it, add the heavy cream and turn the whole thing into a soft yellow ice cream ... well, it's done and it's 'curing' in the deep freeze and I can't wait to have some later while we watch the Red Sox game.

I really think my next decadent project will be making a pizzelle-like cookie that I can curl into a mini-cone. Then, when we make the next batch of ice cream, we'll have gourmet ice cream cones. Golly! I love summertime, don't you ???

NOTE : Okay, if you're thinking, "Cinnamon and basil ?!? That woman is daffy!" - no! Really! This ice cream has a soft sweet basil flavour with just a bit of the cinnamon spiciness. It kind of reminds me of a sweet chai-ish flavour. Totally tasty, I assure you!

Chef Jerry Traunfeld’s Cinnamon-Basil Ice Cream


2½ c. whole milk
1 oz. fresh basil leaves, washed and dried gently, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
8 egg yolks
1 c. sugar
1½ c. heavy cream

Making the Ice Cream:

  1. Bring the milk to a simmer in a heavy saucepan. Bruise the basil leaves by squeezing them and bunching them and drop them into the hot milk with the cinnamon stick.
  2. Cover the pan, remove from the heat and let the mixture steep for about 15 minutes.
  3. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together in a deep bowl. Add just a bit of the warm milk mixture and whisk to temper the eggs. Add the rest a bit at a time, whisking the whole time.
  4. Turn the egg mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium-low heat, stirring constantly until a custard forms and coats the back of the spoon – don’t let this boil or the eggs will curdle – temperature should  be around 170 – 180 °F.
  5. Remove from the heat and place in a clean deep mixing bowl. Place the bowl over an ice bath to bring the temperature down rapidly. When the mixture is cold, whisk in the heavy cream and place the final mixture in the drum of an ice cream maker.
  6. Prepare the ice cream, using your ice cream maker’s manual for instructions on water/salt/ice proportions.
  7. When the ice cream is formed, turn the finished product into a deep freezer container and freeze in the deep freeze for at least 3 hours before serving.
Makes: 1½ quarts


  1. I finally figure out why I admire your cooking style so much Susan. You make the recipes I wish I had the guts to make. All the ingredients would draw me to the recipe again and again, but I would be to afraid to venture outside my taste comfort zone.

  2. I can certainly understand the ice cream craving. I can never have much sitting in my freezer...I am out of control. But....I would love of bowl of your newest combination. How odd...but tasty I am sure. Susan

  3. I'm sure I would love this, too. A near irresistible combination in my mind. I've never made ice cream. (I was hoping for the Kitchen Aid attachment for Mother's Day, but not enough heavy hinting on my part.)

    1. We have an ancient Waring model ... plastic casing with a motor that groans as it gets the job done ... it has served us well over all the years! Look at flea markets and you might find an old one that will do the trick!

  4. This certainly sounds and looks inviting; you see I love basil(so happy I now have fresh) and I love cinnamon and I have to say I love ice cream. What a wonderful combination! I really need an ice cream maker.

  5. Well I do love basil and have full faith in you that this combination is delicious Susan!!!!

  6. What a great combination of flavours.


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