Last year, I found a recipe for Thai basil ice cream
somewhere on the Conscious Kitchen blog (which has since closed down)--we were getting a lot of Thai basil in our CSA basket, and I could never use enough of it, until I found the ice cream recipe. I made Thai basil ice cream a good few times last summer; I liked its subtle floral and spicy flavor, and it was incredibly refreshing during the hot Tennessee summer. Because I was foolish enough not to copy the recipe, I've had to try to re-create it on my own; I'm happy to say that this latest ice cream attempt has been a great success--the addition of the blackberries gives the ice cream a little textural interest and complements the basil quite well. Without any more ado:
-2/3 cup blackberries
-2 tablespoons orange liqueur
-1 tablespoon sugar
-1 1/2 cups coconut creamer (or soy/almond creamer)
-1 1/2 cups soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
-2/3 cup basil, packed (purple is best; I used a mix of purple and Genovese)
-2/3 cup sugar
-2 tablespoons tapioca flour
-pinch of salt
1. Combine blackberries, orange liqueur, and the tablespoon of sugar in a bowl and set aside to macerate.
2. Combine the creamer and soy milk in a medium saucepan, and bring to just near a boil over medium heat; once the mixture is hot and lightly steaming, take off heat and stir in the basil. Allow the mixture to infuse for at least an hour; if you would like a more intense flavor, let it sit overnight (refrigerated). (If you choose to infuse for longer than a few hours, also refrigerate the blackberry mixture.)
3. Once the ice cream base is infused to your liking, strain out the basil, squeezing the leaves to extract flavor.
4. Combine the ice cream base, sugar, and salt in the medium saucepan, and bring to a near-boil over medium-high heat, whisking regularly. When the mixture is hot, sprinkle in the tapioca flour, whisking steadily; continue to whisk for 5-7 minutes, or until the mix thickens noticeably.
5. Pour the ice cream base into a wide bowl and allow to come to room temperature before refrigerating. When the base has cooled sufficiently, mash the blackberries with a fork until no whole berries remain. Fold the blackberries into the ice cream base.
6. Follow the ice cream maker's instructions, and wait patiently while the ice cream freezes.
The ice cream in my pictures looks a little icy because our ice cream maker decided to die on us right in the middle of making this; nonetheless, the ice cream is wonderful. If you doubt the combination of basil and blackberries, I wish that I could let you taste some of this (I happen to be eating some right now), as the flavor would make you rescind any doubt. The basil makes the wild blackberry flavor more intense, and itself tastes almost a little like mint. If you had to guess the flavor of the ice cream, I bet it would take you a few tries to get to basil. I love this ice cream because it is both a little unusual, but yet somehow familiar; and I also like to be reminded that basil is more than just a savory herb--that it shines, but differently, when combined with sweetness.
I'm so glad that blackberries are starting to come in again, and I'm particularly lucky to have a large bramble within walking distance. Most of the berries are out of reach (and shielded by thorns), but last year, I picked at least a couple of quarts (and used some in a cake!). I think this year I'll freeze them as I pick them and try to make a jam with whatever is left over after making the ice cream.