Friday, September 27, 2013

Basil and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream with Lemon Curd

Basil and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream with Lemon Curd

Once again, I must thank you for your patience this month. If I can be candid for a moment, I'm finding it difficult to organize my daily schedule because after I prepare dinner, eat and then wash the dishes, I'm exhausted. Regardless, since I published my last composed dessert, I caved and purchased an ice cream maker. I've made a point in the past that I've been able to do so without one when I published a gelato, a sorbet and an ice cream but (especially with the roasted figs dessert) I'm finding that I'm happiest when ice cream is one component of a dish.

If you don't own one and would like to, I recommend checking out the article before purchasing one. I chose a pre-freeze bowl option because hand-churning a manual type might seem fun for the first couple of times, I knew I'd tire of it eventually and the addition of ice and rock salt is too cumbersome for me. The electric freezer machines were, for the most part, too expensive.

Once the machine was delivered, I consulted The Flavor Bible which noted basil and lemon complementing chocolate. While I could understand theoretically the acidity of the lemon contrasting the sweetness of the chocolate, the addition of the basil intrigued me. It also triggered a memory I have of a basil gelato I ate at Yoshi's in San Francisco several years ago while Mrs. Stuntman and I celebrated our anniversary. I was skeptical at first of an herb in a dessert application. I was only familiar with in a savory setting but left that evening convinced. It then occurred to me that mint is an herb commonly used in desserts but I wanted to explore the idea further.

The Challenge

Interesting flavor profiles.

The Source

For the ice cream custard, I adapted the recipe from epicurious and the lemon curd from the Wall Street Journal.


2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped plus more for garnish
1 pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 2 cups white sugar, divided
4 large plus 10 egg yolks, divided
3 whole eggs
1 cup and 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
Juice from 4 lemons
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Prepare the ice cream custard: Combine the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, basil and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring along the way. Once it reaches a boil, remove it from the heat and let the basil steep for 30 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a blender (reserving the saucepan) and blend until the basil is ground finely.

While the basil steeps, beat 4 of the yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in a separate bowl with an electric mixer until thick and pale. Add the milk to the egg yolks in a steady stream and beat to combine. Pour mixture back into the reserved saucepan and cook over medium heat continually stirring with a wooden spoon until the temperature reaches 175° Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer. (Do not let the mixture boil!)

Strain the mixture into a metal bowl, add 1/2 cup heavy cream and then follow the directions on your ice cream maker, adding the chocolate chips during the last few minutes of churning.

2. Prepare the curd: Combine the remaining 10 egg yolks, 3 whole eggs, remaining 2 cups sugar and the lemon juice in a mixing bowl.

Heat cream until it just begins to simmer in a medium saucepan, then pour into the egg yolk mixture in a steady stream while whisking. Then pour it back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened and darkened in color, approximately 5 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a metal bowl, stir to cool and cover with a plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 or more hours to set. To plate, spoon the curd onto a chilled plate and top with a scoop or two of ice cream.


If I were to prepare this ice cream again, I might use a chocolate swirl because the basil and the lemon were definitely the dominant flavors, however the flavors were still well balanced.

In other news, Mrs. Stuntman took me, her father (visiting from overseas) and our daughter to Napa Valley last weekend. I don't do restaurant reviews but I thought I might note my experiences.

Friday night we ate at The Royal Oak at the Silverado Resort where I had a filet mignon with a roast shallot and smoked sea salt compound butter.

Saturday we had a 4-course lunch while on a tour on the Napa Valley Wine Train.

The appetizer course of shrimp, flavored cheddar, and grapes.

For the second course, I ate the bay shrimp and pumpkin soup.

The entreé course was a pan seared ahi tuna with a saffron tomato broth and grilled bread.

Finally, I had the vanilla bean crème brûlée with a blueberry garnish.

Sunday, we went into Yountville to the legendary Bouchon Bakery. Among the items we purchased were some macarons and a fig tart.


  1. That ice cream sounds awesome! I love using basil in desserts, great recipe :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  2. I want to go back to Napa! I love it there. And your meal looked absolutely divine, as does your ice cream. I love using savoury herbs in desserts. Thyme and rosemary are goods one too if you want to experiment more. I've always loved basil and lemon together but never thought of throwing chocolate into the mix too. I can't wait until I buy a bigger apartment or house and can store an ice cream maker!


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