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Another year means another week of ice cream! Let’s start this Ice Cream Week with a strawberry basil ice cream!
Growing up, we made ice cream on special occasions. Usually, it was homemade vanilla, which – don’t get me wrong – is amazing. If we wanted something different, we would blend a container of our home-frozen strawberries or peaches into the ice cream. Today, when you go into any number of specialty ice cream shops, you can find all sorts of exotic and exciting flavors.
Peppercorn-infused strawberry basil ice cream sounds like a mistake, right? Wrong! Let me assure you, this is nothing short of perfection! If you’re in the mood to try a unique ice cream outside the realm of “normal,” this is the one for you!
Why combine fruit and herbs in ice cream?
Berries and herbs are at their peak during the summer. I’m a strong believer that unless you taste
For quite a few years, I’ve made basil ice cream: simply steep the basil in the ice cream base and serve it with fresh fruit. For me, this strawberry basil ice cream is simply the natural next step.
How do you ensure a deep, rich flavor?
To drive home the flavors of this ice cream, I add in three main components:
- Strawberry puree: I find it best to puree the strawberries so they evenly incorporate into the ice cream base. Personally, I don’t necessarily love the texture of pieces of fruit in ice cream. If left in small chunks, the fruit tends to become a mini ice cube once frozen. No thank you! Instead, a blended fruit puree creates even flavor throughout the ice cream with no hard bits. Win-win!
- Peppercorns: Yeah, this one seems odd at first and it’s important to know that Szechuan peppercorns definitely are unique. This variety of peppercorns are not as spicy as black peppercorns and tend to give a numbing effect to the tongue – yeah, you heard me right… numbing. It’s kind of a cool sensation. Plus, pepper and strawberries are often paired together, so the combination in this ice cream just makes sense. Peppercorns enhance the strawberry flavor and wake up the tastebuds.
- Basil leaves: To add in that crucial basil flavor, the ice cream base is steeped with fresh basil leaves. It only takes about twenty minutes for the leaves to give just a hint of herby freshness. Just make sure to strain them before freezing the ice cream.
Once churned, this ice cream exudes a complex flavor profile due to the multiple layers of flavor. But don’t worry: it easily satisfies that ice cream craving we all feel.
Watch how to make this strawberry basil ice cream:
Past Ice Cream Week favorites:
- French toast ice cream. If you like the breakfast treat, you’ll love this ice cream recipe. While we’re on the subject, you may also love my overnight blueberry French toast recipe, too.
- Peanut butter pie ice cream. Yeah, you heard that right… and this recipe tastes just like it sounds: delicious!
- Birthday cake ice cream. Even if you aren’t celebrating a birthday, this ice cream recipe is perfect!
- Blueberry crumble pie ice cream. Ah, I loved this year’s Ice Cream Week theme of pies made into ice cream!
- Raspberry cheesecake ice cream. This one really does taste like cheesecake, believe me!
Strawberry Basil Ice Cream
- 2 cups + 2 tbsp whole milk
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup strawberry purée
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
- 1 ½ tbsp Mira-Cleer (or cornstarch)
- 1 cup basil leaves
- In a 4 quart saucepan, combine the 2 cups milk, heavy cream, pureed strawberries, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.
- Using a mortar and pestle, coarsely grind the peppercorns to slightly break up. Add the peppercorns to the milk. Whisk to combine and set over medium heat.
- As the mixture heats up, in a separate bowl, combine the reserved 2 tablespoons milk and Mira-Cleer. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
- Continue whisking the heating ice cream base until it comes to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and slowly whisk in the Mira-Cleer slurry. Return to heat, allowing the mixture to come to a rolling boil. Once at a boil, remove from heat.
- Add the prepared basil leaves and stir. Steep for 20 minutes.
- Once steeped, strain the ice cream base to remove the peppercorns and basil leaves.
- Place into an airtight container and chill for 6-8 hours. The base can be chilled for up to 48 hours before freezing.
- When ready to churn, follow the manufacturer’s instructions with the ice cream maker. Churn 20-30 minutes then transfer to an airtight container and place in freezer for an additional 4 hours for hard serve. Alternative, enjoy immediately as soft serve ice cream.