Sweet Basil Ice Cream with Strawberries

Sweet Basil Ice Cream with Strawberries

A few years back, I spent a rainy spring afternoon with the book Culinary Artistry (1996) by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. This book is a fabulous source of inspiration, and it’s one of the first works that were looking for a scientific approach to flavour pairing. In an empiric manner, the authors  interviewed starred chefs and analyzed their menus.

Again and again, the book serves me as a useful source to discover things beyond the beaten path – and it’s here where I found the inspiration to this recipe. Now that we’re nearly in the season where strawberries taste like strawberries, this recipe fits perfectly.

Ice cream

  • ca. 40g fresh sweet basil leaves, coarsely cut
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 500ml full-fat milk
  • 100ml 35% cream
  • 120g table sugar
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

Meringue

  • 6 egg whites
  • 375g table sugar
  • 2.5 Tl vanilla extract

In addition

  • 16 nice strawberries, cleaned and quartered

Traditional (european) ice cream is based on a Crème Anglaise, and as such needs a whole lot of egg yolk. Why not use the egg whites to prepare some french meringues while we’re at it?

  1. Wash and dry basil leaves, chop coarsely. Reserve 1/4 of the chopped basil.
  2. Bring milk and cream to a boil, then remove from heat. Add 3/4 of the basil to the liquid and let infuse for 10 minutes. Pass liquid through a sieve to remove the basil and milk skin
  3. Beat egg yolk and sugar until white and foamy. Add hand warm milk and cream slowly. In a pot, heat up to 85°C while constantly stirring. The cream will start to set. Continue stirring carefully for 5 minutes, then chill in an ice bath.
  4. Add the rest of the sweet basil and the pinch of pepper. Precool for several hours in the fridge, then produce ice cream in the ice cream machine.
  5. For the meringues: Beat egg whites to stiff peaks (bec d’oiseau) while adding half of the sugar bit by bit. Once egg whites are beat, gently fold in the rest of the sugar and the vanilla extract with a silicone spatula.
  6. On two silpat mats or baking paper pipe meringues of about 8cm length. This recipe should yield around 50 meringues.
  7. Bake meringues at 120°C for 50 minutes. After baking, switch off oven and open the oven door a few centimeters. Let the meringues cool gently in the oven.

Plate ice cream, strawberries and meringues on a dessert plate. Decorate with a few drops or lines of balsamic reduction. Optionally, use a blow torch for 1 second to caramelize the meringue.

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Serves 6-8
Cooking time:2h