Blueberry Lemon Basil Ice Cream (#20)

26 07 2012

I was hoping to get this post up earlier, but I ran into some technical difficulties a couple of days ago: I discovered that my Donvier Chillfast cylinder, which I normally store in the freezer, wasn’t frozen solid and icy cold, but was melty and sloshing around!  How could that be?!  I had turned down the freezer to its coldest setting the night before to make sure the cylinder would be as cold as possible.  Was my freezer on the fritz?  The cylinder itself?  Luckily, it was neither.  It turned out that the Official Taster was in a pinch to quickly chill two kegs of beer and had grabbed the Chillfast cylinder and submerged it in a tubful of water, along with the kegs and a couple bags of ice cubes.  Official Taster, you owe me some extra dish washing for thisSurely the ice cubes alone would have been sufficient!  So, this set me back half a day while I re-froze the cylinder.  On the upside though, my custard had some extra time to “age” in the fridge.

Week #20’s flavour came to me when I was shopping at my local produce store.  Blueberries!  Only $1.89/lb!  That’s about as cheap as U-pick, with all the picking done for you!  Blueberries pair well with so many different flavours – cinnamon, cardamom, basil, thyme, orange, and lemon to name a few.  I had a hard time deciding between blueberry-basil and blueberry-lemon, so I figured I’d develop an ice cream recipe containing all three.  So here we have Blueberry Lemon Basil Ice Cream: blueberry compote infused with lemon and basil, dolloped between layers of lemon basil ice cream.

jar of blueberry compote

The blueberry compote, along with a big spoonful of ricotta cheese, would be a great topping for waffles!

Alternating layers of ice cream with random dollops of compote creates a marbled effect that allows the creamy yellow colour of the ice cream to be retained.  Marbling also lets you enjoy the subtle flavours of the lemon basil ice cream on its own as well as with the occasional mouthful of blueberry goodness.  Another option is to swirl the blueberry compote into the ice cream in the final stages of churning, similar to Week 13’s Rhubarb Ginger Ice Cream and Week 16’s Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream.  This would result in a purple-blue ice cream with berries evenly distributed throughout.  Either way, Blueberry Lemon Basil Ice Cream makes for a perfect summer treat!

blueberry lemon basil ice cream

Blueberry compote marbled into lemon basil ice cream.

Blueberry Lemon Basil Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

Ice Cream

2 eggs
3/4 cups white sugar
1 tbsp finely chopped lemon zest
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups half-and-half cream

Blueberry Compote (makes about 1.5 cups)

2 1/2 cups of blueberries, divided
1/3 c sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

For the Ice Cream:

  1. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the first five ingredients.
  2. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of the half-and-half, taking care that the mixture does not curdle.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  4. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.
  5. Chill overnight in the fridge.

For the Blueberry Compote:

  1. While the ice cream is chilling, prepare the blueberry compote.  Combine the 2 cups of the berries, sugar, lemon juice, and basil in a non-reactive saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries break down.  This should take about 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining berries.  The residual heat will cook them.
  4. Cool and chill overnight in the fridge.  Don’t worry, the compote will thicken up.

To Finish:

  1. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Spread a quarter of the ice cream into a chilled dish.  Spoon 1/3 of the compote in random dollops onto the ice cream.  Repeat another two times (3 layers of ice cream, 3 layers of compote).  Top with the remaining quarter of the ice cream.
  3. Chill thoroughly in the freezer until firm.
bowl of blueberry lemon basil ice cream

The Official Taster says: “Refreshing and sweet.  Oh, and sorry for the keg incident!”

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