When I was invited to participate in the strawberry party on Instagram I was thrilled and SO flattered. I was so inspired (and a little jealous) of all the amazing people participating in the carrot party earlier in the spring so I was beyond excited to be invited to participate in this one. I am continuously impressed by the support and endlessly inspired by the amazing people on Instagram. I get so many new ideas, techniques, and CONFIDENCE from the many amazing (mostly) women that I follow. I really could go on forever but it would get embarrassing so I'm going to jump right into the recipe... strawberry basil ice cream.
I've made this before but this time I made a few adjustments and there are a few things I would like to tweak for next time but this general method will give you a flavorful and rich ice cream.
If I go through the trouble of making ice cream at home I want to end up with a super creamy, super custardy, and super flavorful ice cream. I wanted this ice cream to burst with summer flavors, which CAN be accomplished with frozen strawberries and fresh basil from the grocery store. I love the combination of strawberries and basil - just the right amount of sweet and incredibly fresh.
I rely on Melissa Clark's guide to making ice cream on the NYT cooking site any time I make ice cream and this was no exception.
I got the idea from Stella Parks to both roast the strawberries and reduce the juices down - I used her method for Philadelphia style strawberry ice cream as a starting point but took a lot of liberties with it - mainly this was a custard ice cream, not Philly style. I roasted the frozen (gasp!) strawberries and reduced the syrup like she suggested but I just can't help myself and kept reducing it until it was seriously thick. I used all of the syrup and incorporated some of (ok, all of, I really can't help myself) the roasted fruit into the ice cream.
To get a fresh, consistent basil flavor in the ice cream I heated up the cream in a small saucepan with a handful of fresh basil leaves, covered it and let it steep until the cream tasted super basil-y. Don't worry, the ice cream won't end up tasting like pesto - which I initially feared when tasting the cream. Remember, there will be a concentrated strawberry syrup and roasted strawberries mixed in, and in general food is less flavorful when it's cold, and ice cream is obviously... cold. I also tore up some fresh basil leaves to stir into the custard once it was completely cooled for a little pop of fresh basil flavor.
This round of ice cream was much improved from when I made it for the first time last year. Reducing down the strawberry syrup gave it such a bold flavor, while steeping the cream with fresh basil infused the entire batch with a mellow herbaceous note.
Next time I will...
-add a little bit of vodka to the ice cream to make it softer and more scoopable (this was actually in Stella Parks's method but I completely forgot about it)
-tweak the ratio of milk to cream by adding more milk, this ice cream turned out, dare I say, a little too rich
-maybe try to incorporate some buttermilk? strawberry and buttermilk are a pretty classic combo and I wonder how they would taste with basil
I cannot wait to check out all of the amazing strawberry posts. I know I will get plenty of inspiration and ideas
to add to my "to cook" list.
Let me know if you try this combo whether in ice cream or some other dish!
Check out all of the other delicious and inspiring strawberry recipes!!!