Home made lemon basil ice cream – yes you can!

Now that the heat seems to be back, here’s a really nice lemon basil ice cream recipe that you can easily make without an ice cream machine. This flavor is quite different, and the texture is smooth without being too creamy.

Lemon basil ice cream

This recipe is from one of my favorite cook-books Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, by author Diana Henry. Her books are beautifully written and are full of well tested & original recipes that explore middle eastern blends and techniques with contemporary cookery. I’m excited to discover her new “Salt Sugar Smoke: The Definitive Guide to Conserving, from Jams and Jellies to Smoking and Curing”. You can read a great and enviable article about Diana written by Sylvana de Soissons.

Most of the recipes require some skill without being overly complicated, and all are certain to earn you a few compliments in return for your efforts. A very clever friend, and also gifted cook, gave me the two Diana Henry books I own – In turn, I’ll make sure to repeat this gesture by doing the same for someone I equally appreciate… Diana’s books just seem to spew good karma.


  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 30 large basil leaves roughly torn (or a little less if you don’t want your ice cream to taste too strongly of basil)
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • About 1 cup of sugar (fine granulated)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 5/8 cup heavy cream

Heat the milk just to boiling point. Take off heat and add the basil leaves – let rest for 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Beat the sugar and the yolks together until they are pale and fluffy. Strain the milk (you can press on the basil leaves in your strainer to extract as much flavor as possible) and stir it into the sugar and egg mixture. Make a bain-marie by putting your bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (I like to use a metal salad bowl that I own for this part – I find that the metal diffuses the heat quickly and evenly). Stir the liquid in the bowl constantly until it thickens lightly (you don’t want to cook your egg yolks by putting it over blaring heat). If you pass a spoon through the mixture and it makes a path when you run your finger town the back then the custard is ready. Immediately pour the mixture into another bowl (the bowl that you will use for the freezer – I like to use a large pyrex measuring cup that makes checking and mixing the ice cream during the freezing process easy).

Add the lemon juice to the custard and beat the cream in lightly. Put your bowl in the freezer and beat it with a metal whisk every hour or so until the texture is to your liking (this will take a few good hours, though.) You can use an electric beater too, but I find that using the whisk gives a nice loose texture.



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Categories: Food


Aspiring food writer, serious traveler, media enthusiast and communications specialist from Montréal, Canada. www.facebook.com/LavoiealaBouche Follow me on twitter @aalavoie

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