You know I haven’t spent much time around math since high school, but I do know that ice cream = summer. And this is officially my first summer batch.
I spent a good amount of time with Emily telling her about my obsession with making ice cream. And with a hearty umph!, I placed a stack of ice cream cookbooks in front of her and told her to pick something for us to make together. She surprised me in picking this rich basil and pine nut recipe from none other than Ms. Jeni herself.
Surprise #1: Basil. I love basil, but I had continually flipped by this page without a thought.
Surprise #2: No eggs!
I’ve never made any of Jeni’s Philadelphia-style ice creams yet and I was hesitant because usually it’s the eggy custard that gives ice cream its trademark richness, creaminess, and smoothness.
Surprise #3: Pine Nuts
Typically a very rich nut, it’s made even more amazing with honey, butter, brown sugar and a bit of salt. Then again, what wouldn’t benefit from those additions? And the praline was the perfect amount of crunch.
This was absolutely incredible. Rich beyond belief, ultra creamy–even without those eggs–and a flavor that screams I-T-A-L-Y!!!!! This even won over Joe. Maybe it reminds him of our summers spent in Lucca.
So if you have a overactive basil plant and you just can’t make any more pesto, whip this up. It’s like eating your greens for dessert. …well, whatever we have to tell ourselves!
Sweet Basil & Honeyed Pine Nut Ice Cream
2 c. whole milk
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 (3 Tbs.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 1/4 c. heavy cream
2/3 c. sugar
2 Tbs. light corn syrup
Large handful of basil leaves, roughly torn into small pieces
1/3 c. (or more, to taste) Honey Pine Nut Pralines
To make the pralines:
1 c. pine nuts
2 Tbs. light brown sugar
2 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Combine the nuts with the remaining ingredients in a bowl, tossing to coat. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Stir and bake another 5-6 minutes, stirring twice. The nuts should look bubbly and somewhat dry.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely, stirring often to break them up.
To make the ice cream:
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl and make a smooth slurry.
Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Combing the remaining milk, the cream, sugar and corn syrup in a large saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Gradually whisk in the hot milk into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the basil.
Pour the mixture into a large ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand until cold, about 30 minutes.
Strain out the basil and pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, folding in 1/3 c (or more) of the honey pine nut pralines as you go. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze overnight.