While on a trip to San Francisco, I had an incredible and indulgent dinner at Michael Mina in Union Square. It ended with a dessert that was among the best we’ve ever had. I’m a huge fan of basil, so when the server mentioned a vanilla panna cotta with basil granita and fresh strawberries, I was in. No questions, no hesitation.
It was incredible. Just incredible.
Reduced-Fat Basil Ice Cream
adapted from David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop
1 c. packed fresh basil leaves
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 c. half and half
1 c. 2% milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1 TBSP vodka
1. Process the basil leaves, sugar, and one cup of the half and half in a blender until the leaves are as fine as possible.
2. Pour half of the mixture into a large bowl and add the rest of the half and half. Place the bowl in an ice bath.
3. Warm the rest of the mixture in a saucepan with the milk, vanilla, and salt.
4. In another bowl, whisk the the egg yolks together. Slowly pour the warmed basil mixture into the egg yolks a little at a time while continuously whisking.
5. Pour the egg yolks back into the saucepan. Constantly stir the mixture over medium heat. Scrape the bottom as you stir until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Stir the custard until cool. Add the vodka.
6. Pour the custard into a quart size container and place until the refrigerator at least four hours, preferably overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream manufacturer’s instructions.