The closer an ingredient is to its field or branch, the richer its flavor and the deeper its meaning. In Farm Fork Food (Kyle Books, 2014), author Eric Skokan shares his seasonal recipes that always have a sense of discovery and delight. The book will guide you through your local market with confidence or turn your garden into a season-long celebration of cooking. This Basil Ice Cream Recipe with Summer Berries is from the chapter, “Desserts.”
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Basil might not seem to be a natural choice for dessert but take my word for it, it is. Basil’s assertive fennel-like flavor becomes otherworldly once sweetened up. Here, I’ve paired it with simple ripe summer berries to make an unforgettably delicious dessert.
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 2 cups whole milk
• 1 large egg
• 6 egg yolks
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon molasses
• 2 cups fresh basil
• 2 ice cubes
• 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
• pinch of sea salt
• 1 cup blackberries
• 1 cup raspberries
1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, whisk the cream, milk, egg and egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and molasses to combine. Cook, whisking often, until the cream begins to simmer. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, at least 4 hours.
2. In a blender, combine the basil, ice, oil and salt. Blend until very smooth, about 1 minute. It should look like a green smoothie. Strain through a fine sieve into a small clear glass container and set aside for the ice to melt, about 20 minutes. The basil purée will float to the top of the mixture and separate from the water. Using a spoon, decant the basil purée off the top and into the chilled cream mixture and stir well to combine. Freeze in an ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the ice cream to a metal or glass container and place in the freezer to harden, about 2 hours.
3. Scoop the ice cream into four chilled bowls. Top each with the berries. Serve immediately.
Smooth, creamy ice cream results from thousands of tiny ice crystals in each spoonful—each too small to feel on the tongue. Ice cream makers create this by mixing while they freeze but you can do the same by hand. Here’s the trick: Pour the chilled ice cream mixture into a pre-frozen wide glass dish and place in the freezer until the mixture is very firm, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes to break up the forming ice crystals.
Remember: the faster the chilling, the better the texture. Voila!
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This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Farm Fork Food, by Eric Skokan and published by Kyle Books, 2014.