I am under the sadly false impression that if something sounds strange, and it's in a cookbook, it must be worth trying. I mean, why would they go to the trouble of printing it if it's not good? This serves me well most of the time, hence my foray into cabbage galette (delicious), but not so well if I'm reading cookbooks for 50's housewives (turkey-souffle salad - contains lime or lemon jello, mayo, cooked turkey, pimento, onion and pepper. Anyone?)
However, my instinct proved right this weekend when I was flipping through Rick Stein's French Odyssey for ideas on what to do with some of the 50 lbs. of peaches my sons and I had just picked. He had a recipe for grilled peaches with lemon verbena ice cream and raspberries. This sounded perfectly lovely so I started reading the recipe. In his notes, he says that he got the idea for his recipe from a restaurant called Eugenie-les-Bains in southeast France and the only difference was they poached their peaches and served it with fresh basil ice cream. "What!?" my curious mind exploded, "Rick Stein! No recipe for basil ice cream? How can you say that to me and not include the recipe?!" It sounded just weird enough that I had to try it.
While searching for recipes, it turns out this is not weird at all and several of my fellow food bloggers had blogged on basil ice cream. Now I had to try it. I happened upon a recipe from Southern Living that I adapted to fit me. I was not disappointed with this one. The basil ice cream was beautiful and delicious. The creaminess and herbiness of the basil contrasted perfectly with the sweet, juiciness of the peach. It was so good and a perfect dessert to celebrate end of summer peaches. You must try it and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Basil ice cream with Grilled peaches by Joie de vivre
2 cups 1% milk, divided
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup sugar, divided
7 egg yolks
Peaches (1/2 peach per person)
1. Cook 1 cup milk in a heavy saucepan over low heat until bubbly. Stir in 2 cups basil leaves and remove from heat. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, pour basil mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Strain mixture (otherwise it will be gritty) through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl discarding solids. Set mixture aside.
2. Cook remaining 1 cup milk, whipping cream, and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, just until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat. Beat egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale. Gradually stir about 1/4 of hot milk mixture into yolks; add to remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly. Stir in basil mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 minutes or until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Cover and chill 4 hours.
3. Pour chilled mixture into freezer container of a 1-gallon electric ice cream freezer, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.
4. For peaches: Cut in half and remove the pit. Place on a pre-heated grill over high heat (cut side down to start) for 4 minutes each side. Let peaches cool a little before topping with basil ice cream so ice cream doesn't melt. Garnish with a basil sprig and serve immediately.