Lemon Basil Ice Cream & A Visit From Georgia Pellegrini

by Marla on August 5, 2011 · 68 comments

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Oh friends do I have an amazing treat for you today…ICE CREAM. Make that two amazing treats. I have my awesome pal Georgia Pellegrini guest posting with her gorgeous homemade Lemon Basil Ice Cream! *happy dance* If you have never met Georgia before then here is your chance to hang with one of the finest chefs, hunters, writers and well rounded gals I know. She will make you crave local, seasonal ingredients.

She will inspire you to dash outdoors to garden, forage and roam the land for your food. Her recipes are amazing and her story telling will give you the giggles and you’ll learn lots. Her tagline is Redefining Slow Food. Those 3 words say it all. Really. *all of the gorgeous photos in this post are Georgia’s

Take it away miss Georgia……

I am thrilled to be paying a visit to Marla and Family Fresh Cooking today. This is one of my favorite blogs because not only do I adore Marla as a friend, but her cooking and recipes are right up my alley. I’m going to share one of my favorite summer recipes with you, with ingredients straight from my garden and my chicken coop, and perfect for this summer heat. It turns the idea of a sweet treat on its head a bit by adding something savory to the mix– it’s Lemon Basil Ice Cream!


For those of you who don’t know me yet, I grew up in a place called Tulipwood on the same land that my great grandfather lived on in the Hudson Valley. I developed a great appreciation for living off the land and getting dirt under my finger nails. We have very loud guinea hens, and a fleet of Rhode Island Reds, and once there was a love story between a rooster named Buster and a white hen named Lucy.

There are also dozens of wild turkeys that roam around. In fact they’ve just hatched some new members of the family.

There are also the small pleasures and first times here, like the first blueberry of the season, the important task of summer gardening, the battle against the woodchucks, weeding the new garden with its very tall deer fence, seeing the chickens play outside in the grass selecting worms and fighting over tortellini scraps…and the anticipation of robbing the honeybees for the first time every year.

I travel a lot these days in order to write my books. But when I stop in to visit Tulipwood, I like to cook as much as possible. I have cooked a lot with my grandmother through the years and planted her kitchen herb garden often since she thinks there is nothing better than fresh herbs. One of her favorite herbs to grow is stevia leaves, a natural sweetener. She and I don’t have a sweet tooth… in fact, she taught me that in most recipes, you can often cut the sugar down to about 1/3 of what it calls for and taste the rest of the ingredients much better that way.

But there is something about this ice cream… I think what makes it so intoxicating is the basil. She would have preferred I use stevia here, and you definitely can if you have it handy!

One of the things I like about making my own ice cream is knowing how simple the ingredient profile truly is. I think it’s catching on, because have you noticed now there is a certain brand of Hagen Daaz promoting just “4 simple ingredients?”

For this, I went out to the chicken coop and grabbed a few eggs, zested a lemon, added sugar, cream, milk and picked some basil. And a pinch of salt.

I just heated the milk and cream with the zest and basil along with a pinch of salt. Brought it up to a boil, then shut off the heat and let it infuse. I also stirred it often so the bottom didn’t scorch.

The only tricky part here is that you “temper” the yolk. That simply means you add a bit of the warm liquid to it rather than all at once. If you added it all at once, you would likely cook the eggs. You mix the eggs with a bit of the warm liquid, and then add a little bit more, stirring constantly, scraping down the sides to avoid scrambled eggs.

Then you return it all to the sauce pan and stir it constantly over low heat until it thickens to the point where you can leave a track with your finger on the spatula.

Then, you run it through the ice cream maker and in about an hour, you have…

This! It was about 100 degrees outside with lots of humidity, so yours may not melt faster than you can snap a photo. But either way it’s spectacular.

I think it truly is my favorite. What’s your favorite ice cream?

*Thanks Georgia! By the way did you see last month I paid her a visit? We like hanging out for reals and on each others blogs. Also Georgia has authored two books Food Heroes and Girl Hunter. You can also follow Georgia on Twitter, Facebook, RSS and StumbleUpon.

Lemon Basil Ice Cream

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Lemon Basil Ice Cream


  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar


  • Put the ice cream container from your ice cream maker in the freezer. Heat the milk and cream with the zest and basil along with a pinch of salt. Bring it up to a gentle boil, then shut of the heat and let it infuse. Make sure to stir so the bottom doesn’t scorch. Let sit and infuse until no longer hot, but still warm. Separately, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until they are light in color from the air that you’ve incorporated. Set it aside. Mix the basil milk in a blender until uniform. Temper the yolks by adding a bit of the warm liquid to them gradually. Keep stirring constantly, scraping down the sides to avoid scrambled eggs. Return it all to the sauce pan and stir it constantly over low heat until it thickens to the point where you can leave a track with your finger on the spatula. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes, then pour the liquid into the frozen ice cream container and run it through the ice cream maker for 50-60 minutes.
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*This post was added to Tidymom’s I’m Loving It Friday’s series

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