It is nearing the end of summer and there are bundles of bustling basil in my garden. I have already made a few batches of pesto (and froze them in ice cube trays for single serving convenience), and enjoyed my share of my favorite Herby Mango smoothie, so I needed another idea that would highlight this gorgeous herb.
As fate would have it, while my husband and I were out to dinner that night, basil ice cream appeared on the dessert menu. The perfect palate cleanser; a refreshing light flavor after a meal. I just had to recreate it.
Lately, I have been experimenting with coconut milk ice creams. So far our favorite is just plain coconut milk with a touch of vanilla and chocolate chips (of course). However, while coconut milk ice cream is lovely, there are two things that bother me about this alternative: 1. I don’t always want to taste coconut in my ice cream, 2. When frozen, it appears more like an ice milk than an ice cream. For fruit based recipes, I didn’t mind the icy effects; it created a cross between an ice cream and a sorbet. For basil ice cream however, I definitely wanted something creamier. So, I started researching different vegan ice cream recipes, as well as traditional ones. I came across a recipe that added arrowroot starch to the coconut milk base, which, like corn starch, makes the mixture thicker and creamier. Next I looked at traditional recipes that used cream, and egg yolks. It just so happened that my husband made gluten-free pancakes that morning with egg whites and had left me a few small egg yolks (fresh from the farmer’s market) in the fridge! I felt compelled to use them.
So, combining the two ideas, I came up with my own recipe.
Now, I am by no means an ice cream making expert. Nor can I follow recipes well, so I was winging it in the kitchen like usual. I do, however, get the general idea of how to make things. Like any ice cream, first you need to create a base, then heat it, let it cool, and then put it in the ice cream maker.
Here’s how you do it:
As I watched the ice cream maker do its magic, I was surprised how beautifully creamy and vibrantly green this ice cream became! This is definitely one you can enjoy immediately, but I put it in the freezer for a later (after the kids go to sleep) treat. It was sweet, but with slight licorice notes, and so refreshing.
While ice cream is obviously a dessert or treat, this recipe is packed with the healing and supportive properties of basil. Basil helps to calm nervous and anxiety, and it is useful for constipation, insomnia, fatigue, and warding off infections and parasites. I got into the habit of using a lot of basil when I was dealing with histamine-related disorders, as basil is also powerful anti-histamine. I still have bunches of basil that need to be used before fall hits, so more pesto, basil vinaigrette, and basil mint mock-mojitos are in my near future. Or perhaps…strawberry basil popsicles! The opportunities are endless.