Ice Cream in the Summertime

In the summer heat, start with dessert first! July's Spice Dreams has you covered with a variety of unusual ice cream recipes, including some that use herbs fresh from the garden. Check out the recipe for Basil Ice Cream, along with ice cream books selected from the library's collection.

You may have noticed ice cream book displays in your local branches, preparing you for an essential summer staple. I took on the delicious task of testing this recipe for you:

Basil Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk

1 cup sugar, divided

1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves

2 tsp. dried basil

1/8 tsp. salt

4 large egg yolks

2 cups whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla

Combine milk, 1/2 cup sugar, basils, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat and allow to scald for 5 minutes, stirring often. Cover and let steep for one hour. Strain mixture and return to a clean saucepan. Return mixture to simmer.

While milk is re-warming, whisk together egg yolks in a medium bowl. Add remaining sugar and whisk until light and fluffy. While whisking, add a small amount of hot milk to yolks to temper. Add the yolk-milk mixture to the rest of the hot milk, also while stirring constantly. Over medium-low heat, continue stirring and cooking the mixture until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, place in bowl of ice water, and let custard cool, stirring occasionally.

Once cool, stir in heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 4 hours or up to 3 days.

When ready, freeze the custard according to your ice-cream maker instructions. Transfer to an airtight container to store in your freezer.

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.


Yum! The resulting flavor is lightly herbal and entirely refreshing. If basil and cream just doesn't quite sit well with you, the Denver Public Library is full of cookbooks for ice creams and frozen desserts. Other favorites include:

Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book

The Ultimate Frozen Dessert Book

The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto

A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts


Written by Becky on August 7, 2010


Anonymous on August 9, 2010


I have a lot of basil growing in my garden and i think i will try this ice cream. It sounds intriguing. I probably would not have tried this recipe on my own. But I am glad to see that Ben and Jerry's brand has a recipe book too.


The Ben and Jerry's book has a great recipe for cantaloupe ice cream that's really good.  It makes a great use of our Rocky Ford cantaloupes!  One drawback to the Ben & Jerry's book is that there is no explanation of how to make a custard, although some of the cream-base recipes require eggs.  You can use the custard-making method above for the recipes in Ben & Jerry's.

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