Buttermilk ice cream with basil & vanilla - Summer, come back!
July 24th, 2011

People who know me well wouldn’t hesitate to call me an optimist, I concentrate on the positive aspects in life and do my best in cheering up sad friends. Naturally, I have ignored the fretful voices which have been cursing the inconsistent summer weather over the last weeks.


Ironically, we have been celebrated the few sunny hours like there was no tomorrow, beer-gardens, an afternoon at the lake and yet another ice-coffee Bangkok-style at our new favorite neighborhood coffee bar Lollo Rosso. Still, the last two weeks have brought so much rain, so many heavy thunderstorms, that it is hard for me to not condemn this so-called summer. My recipe list is bursting with new ice cream ideas, but I just don’t feel like eating ice cream – not a bit – certainly not, when I’m wearing woolen socks and am craving hot soup instead.

As a consequence our ice cream machine hasn’t been put to good use this summer – so far (hope dies last). The first two churns were different types of buttermilk ice cream and the third one will become a regular: ‘Ever tasted basil sorbet or basil ice cream? If not, you’re missing out, it’s one of my favorite flavors, refreshing and complex with just a hint of anise. Oh and if you dare to go one step further and pair the basil with buttermilk ice cream, you might be in for a real summer treat. Perfect for glistening hot summer days. Which we soon will have again. Hopefully.

Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan together with half of the sugar (75 g), scraped out vanilla seeds and the bean. Coarsely chop the basil leaves and add to the heavy cream, then let simmer for 5 minutes over low to medium heat. Remove from heat.

Remove the vanilla bean before continuing! Using a handheld blender puree the basil leaves until the cream gains a soft green color and you can’t spot larger leaf parts anymore – the finer, the better.

In a separate bowl mix together egg yolks and the second half of the sugar (75 g) until it becomes pale and the sugar has completely dissolved.

Now slowly pour the warm infused cream over the egg and sugar concoction while constantly stirring (not too fast, otherwise you will end up with foam).

Reheat the custard mix slowly over low to medium heat, continuously stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot until the custard has noticeably thickened and coats the back of your heatproof rubber spatula, do not let it boil! Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl, stir in the buttermilk and chill covered in the fridge for at least an hour (a couple more hours are fine, too).

Setup your ice cream machine according to the instructions and let it churn away. Enjoy!

Buttermilk ice cream with basil & vanilla

Recipe source: own creation

Prep time: 30min. plus chilling & freezing

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Ingredients (4-5 scoops):

300 g heavy cream

150 g sugar, divided

1 vanilla bean, slit length and seeds scraped out

20 g fresh basil leaves (~2 handful)

4 egg yolks (large)

200 g buttermilk

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