My sister gave me a wonderful book for Christmas with recipes for sorbets, ice creams, granitas and frozen desserts appropriately called “Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts” by Peggy Fallon. My favorite recipe thus far (and my boyfriend concurs) is this recipe for cinnamon basil ice cream. The basil flavor is very subtle, but fragrant and delicate on the tongue. I lightened up the recipe a little bit, using half-and-half instead of whole cream, but the result is still rich and sumptuous.
Cinnamon Basil Ice Cream
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 bunch basil, well-rinsed
1 cinnamon stick
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1. Bring the milk to a simmer in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the basil and the cinnamon stick, cover, and remove from the heat. Let steep for 15 minutes, then strain through a sieve, pressing down on the basil to extract all of the liquid.
2. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the cinnamon basil-flavored milk. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula or a wooden spoon until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (170-175 degrees F).
3. Immediately pour the custard back into the mixing bowl and let cool in the refrigerator, until the custard is very cold. Whisk in the half-and-half.
4. Pour the mixture into the canister of an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a covered container and freeze until it is firm enough to scoop (at least three hours or overnight).