Blueberry Basil and White Chocolate Ice Cream

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  1.5 quarts
Prep Time:  30 minutes Chilling/Freezing Time:  20 hours Cook Time:  20 minutes

Blueberry Basil and White Chocolate Ice Cream

This is a sophisticated charmer of an ice cream and a bit softer than most homemade ice creams. The basil adds a touch of grace and perfume to the ice cream, which screams the bluest of blueberriness. The white chocolate and dried blueberries add gentle creamy bites of sweetness and a textural chew. They really will scream for this ice cream. Allow eight hours for the ice cream base to chill and then freeze it overnight.

Ingredients

Ice cream:

14 to 16 large fresh basil leaves, purple preferred, divided

2⅔ cups heavy cream

1⅓ cup whole milk

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

3 pints fresh blueberries

3½ cups dried blueberries, divided

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

7 egg yolks, room temperature

1⅓ cups granulated sugar

½ cup white chocolate chunks

 

Garnishes:

1 pint fresh blueberries

½ cup white chocolate chunks, chips or ¼ cup shaved white chocolate

Fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Make the custard base: Cut half of the basil into chiffonade. Wrap the rest in very slightly dampened paper towels and refrigerate. Combine the cream, milk, vanilla bean paste, the fresh blueberries, 2 cups of the dried blueberries, the basil chiffonade, and the salt in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-low heat. Heat just until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 10  to 15 minutes, or until the dried fruits are very plump and completely softened.
  2. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor or a blender, and blend until smooth. Set a fine-mesh sieve over the pot and strain the blended mixture, pressing with a spoon to get all of the liquid. Discard the solids and rinse the sieve. Set the liquid in the pot aside.
  3. Prepare an ice bath by placing a large bowl of ice water into the sink. Place a large, clean bowl into the ice bath, positioning it securely so that it will stay very still. Place the clean fine-mesh sieve over the top bowl.
  4. In a medium glass or metal bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until pale yellow and thickened.
  5. Reheat the cream-and-fruit mixture to a gentle boil. Do not let it scald or boil over.
  6. Slowly drizzle the cream-and-fruit mixture into the egg mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly. Continue drizzling and whisking until completely incorporated.
  7. Reduce the heat to low, return the pot to the heat, and pour the custard back into the pot, still whisking. Switch to a spoon and cook, stirring continuously, for 6 to 9 minutes, until the custard is thick and coats the back of the spoon. (Do not let it boil or the mixture will curdle. If steam begins to rise from the custard, briefly remove the pot from heat to cool slightly while continuing to stir.)
  8. Pour the hot custard mixture quickly through the fine-mesh sieve into the chilled bowl set in the ice bath, stirring as it cools. When cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. This can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  9. Transfer to an ice cream machine and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Cut the remaining 7 to 8 leaves fresh basil into chiffonade (see Kitchen Tips), and add it and the remaining 1½ cups dried blueberries and the ½ cup white chocolate chunks io the ice cream, stir to blend, and freeze overnight.
  10. To serve, scoop into serving bowls or ice cream soda glasses and garnish each with fresh blueberries, white chocolate chips or shaved white chocolate and fresh basil leaves. The ice cream will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Kitchen Tips

  1. Chiffonade simply means that leafy greens or herbs are cut into thin strips. To make a chiffonade of basil, stack the leaves on top of one another on a work surface. Roll tightly from stem to tip and then cut the roll crosswise in ⅛-inch slices with a sharp knife. Unroll and you will have lovely, thin slivers of basil.

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