We haven’t been paying a lot of attention to our garden this year, being distracted by having a 5-month-old in the house, but alongside the cherry tomatoes, the basil has been flourishing. So much so that I have been using it in everything I can: salads, bruschetta, even infused olive oil. But last night I crossed the line. I made basil ice cream.
I got the recipe from a respectable source, David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. And while I feel that the recipe was sound, I don’t think that ice cream made with herbs or other savory ingredients is to my taste. Or to the taste of anyone eating dinner at my house last night, unfortunately for them.
The problem with basil ice cream is that the unexpected appearance of a savory flavor in what you have assumed to be dessert is very off-putting. The pungent quality of the basil seems to fight with the rich sweet cream in a way that is not pleasurable. And it didn’t help that I kept tasting it long after dinner was over with. It had staying power.
This is not the first time I have failed at making ice cream with a savory ingredient. My attempt to make raspberry-chile sorbet for my mother’s birthday was also a spectacular failure. The chile didn’t seem very strong when I was making the base, so I kept adding more, forgetting that the flavors intensify after freezing. The result was inedible, although my mother, to her credit, choked it down.
So I cannot recommend Lebovitz’s basil ice cream recipe. And I think this is the end of my experiments with unusual ice cream flavors. If you are coming over to dinner any time soon, you don’t have to worry — I’ll present you with a luscious chocolate or a refreshing fruit sorbet instead.