For Craig and my first wedding anniversary this past June, we went to dinner at Stephen Pyles’ restaurant in downtown Dallas. The place has been open for four years, but somehow neither of us had eaten there. Such a shame! This is not a restaurant review and I’m SO not a restaurant reviewer, but let me just tell you that we had one of the best meals EVER. Oye…it makes me full just thinking about it. We’re talking cocktails, appetizers, wine, salad, main course, dessert, etc. And I do mean “etc.” Warm and friendly servers just kept bringing us food! Craig and I were both full after our first bites into the salad course, but we looked each other in the eye and made a vow to finish our meals. We apparently have no problem with gluttony. At the end of the meal, when my eyes were glassy and my mouth covered in a giddy grin, I thanked my lucky stars that I wore a black, stretchy dress that hid my bulging stomach. No more food. Please. And just when I thought we were in the clear, a sleek white plate appeared in front of us where four types of house-made candies and chocolates sat mocking me. Great…complimentary food. Just what we need. We felt like it might be rude to take them to-go, and since it was such a special night and all, we decided to push through to the new end of the meal. We made it too. It wasn’t pretty, but we made it. At the end of our long two-hour, amazingly wonderful dinner, we waddled out to the valet and drove the short three blocks home. I know, three blocks. You’d think we would’ve walked to and from dinner, but come on, I was in heels, and it was hot, and I was FULL.
Through our entire meal, we oo’d and ahh’d over the beautiful presentation and depth of flavor in each dish presented to us. And even though I had wonderful sauces, meats, and cocktails, the item that stuck with me the most was the small scoop of basil ice cream that accompanied my dessert. I guess this isn’t a surprise to those of you who know me personally. I really love ice cream. I even registered for the ice cream attachment to my KitchenAid mixer for our wedding. And while I’ve used just about everything I received as a gift, I still hadn’t tried the ice cream attachment. For some reason I just kept thinking making ice cream would be hard. I’m not even sure why because I know tons of people who make their own. I was just being silly…and impatient. When I want ice cream, I want it NOW!! So, I put on my big girl panties and decided to give it a whirl. I needed that basil ice cream again.
So if you plant your own basil or have a bunch in your CSA box this week, it might be time to make some refreshing ice cream. And if you happen to make too much, please feel free to send it to my house. I’ll gladly take it off your hands.
Basil Ice Cream
Gourmet, October 2004
4 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 cup sugar
8 large egg yolks
1 cup well-chilled heavy cream
In a large saucepan, bring milk, basil, 1/2 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt to a boil. Stir well and then remove from heat, allowing mixture to steep for 30 minutes. Pour liquid into a blender, reserving saucepan, and blend until basil is finely ground.
With a hand or stand mixer, beat together yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Add milk mixture slowly and continue to beat until combined. Pour liquids back into reserved saucepan and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to coat the back of the spoon (registers 175 degrees on candy thermometer). Do not let it boil. Immediately remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice water and stir until cold, 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in cream and and process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes about 6 cups.
If you have the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment, freeze your mixing bowl for at least 15 hours before using (or just keep it in the freezer for ice cream anytime). Pour the cold liquid into the frozen ice cream bowl while the mixer is running on low. Continue to mix for up to 30 minutes. Ice cream should be soft-serve consistency. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden. Do not store ice cream in the KA ice cream mixing bowl attachment.