Clearly, I’m no stranger to odd combinations. Strawberries and pizza? Yes please. Bacon and cheesecake? Why not? One of my favorite pizzas is topped with pepperoni and banana peppers, something that Andy finds incredibly weird. It’s not weird, just different. (Haha… I think I had a key chain in high school that said this.)
Last summer, I saw this recipe for lemon basil cheesecake, and it immediately caught my attention. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it until after my basil was pretty much done for the season, so I made a mental note to check it out again this year. Well, I still haven’t made time for cheesecake, but this time around, I noticed the link to the lemon basil gelato. Gelato, I reasoned, would come together faster than cheesecake, and wouldn’t require the use of the oven. Plus, who wouldn’t want a frosty, frozen treat in the middle of August? Besides, how weird could it really be? (Andy was NOT convinced. “Why do you have to make a weird flavor? Can’t you just make vanilla bean?”)
I went for it. It came together quickly, and I found the flavor to be very refreshing. Right after churning the gelato, I found it to have a very subtle basil flavor – I think “herby” is the best way to describe it. However, the longer it sat in the freezer, the more pronounced the basil became. Since I’m not too familiar with gelato, I can’t say if the texture was right on, but no one here complained. In fact, Andy’s only complaint was that I ate more than my share of the gelato. In my defense, I thought that his comments about its “weirdness” meant he didn’t like it. Whoops.
I can’t wait to hear his comments when I try this peach basil sorbet.
Lemon Basil Gelato
2 1/4 cups milk, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves (I didn’t have lemon basil, so I upped the zest and decreased the basil.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup milk. Set aside. Heat (but do not boil) the remaining two cups of milk in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, lemon zest and basil leaves in a small bowl. Using a wooden spoon, crush the zest and leaves into the sugar, releasing the oils.
When the milk begins to steam, whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Mix in the lemon/bail/sugar mixture and stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the mixture through the strainer, pressing on the leaves to extract the flavors. Allow the mixture to chill completely. (I was impatient, so I put mine in the freezer and stirred it every 20 minutes or so… no time to mess with an overnight chill in the fridge!)
Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions, then transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm.
From Have Dessert First
Click here for a printable version.