Tag Archives: strawberry

Basil Ice Cream with Strawberry Ripple


This dessert tastes like summer vacation to me.  Ice cream is the quintessential warm-weather indulgence, and the tart strawberry ripple undulating through this recipe’s sweet basil cream makes it the perfect poolside snack.

The inspiration for this sweet treat came from my sister in-law, Fatima. When I was visiting her last Christmas, she taught me to make mint chocolate chip ice cream from scratch using bunches of fresh spearmint to flavor the ice cream custard.  I used Fatima’s technique along with fresh basil from Pure Luck in Dripping Springs, Texas, to create this not-too-sweet basil ice cream.

When I was testing this recipe, I discovered that the earthy flavor of basil creates a very full-bodied ice cream. To punctuate and balance that richness I used some homemade strawberry jam to create a ripple: a thin layer of sauce that’s distributed throughout the ice cream.

Creating afruit ripple in home-churned ice cream is easy, and all you need is some jam, pie filling or sweetened fruit puree. As soon as the churned ice cream has been poured into a storage container, gently spread an even layer of jam or fruit puree across the top of the ice cream. Cover and freeze as usual, and when you serve the ice cream later a perfect ripple will appear automatically in each scoop.

If you’re out of fresh strawberry jam, peaches from Caskey Orchards in San Marcos or blackberries  would pair just as well with basil, and they’re in season now. To create a blackberry or peach ripple, you can macerate chopped fruit or whole berries in sugar and puree them, or you can use your favorite recipe for pie filling or freezer jam and puree the finished product. Whatever fruit, jam or pie filling you use, it’s important that the ripple be completely smooth since the high water content of whole berries or peach chunks turn them into ice cubes if they freeze.

Basil Ice Cream with Strawberry Ripple (yields 1.5 quarts)

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 pinch salt
1 bunch fresh basil
5 large egg yolks
3/4 cup strawberry jam

Before you begin, you’ll need some specific equipment for this recipe: a mesh strainer, a saucepan, a whisk, a few spoons, a 1.5 quart ice cream maker, and a few bowls: one large metal mixing bowl which will sit in an ice bath (use a bigger bowl or the sink for this) and a small mixing bowl. A kitchen thermometer isn’t absolutely necessary, but it is useful.

1. Wash and dry basil and tear it into several handfuls of loose leaves and stems. In a medium pan, warm milk, sugar, one cup heavy cream, salt, and basil. Stir occasionally. Once mixture is hot, about 150 degrees, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes to infuse basil flavor.

2. Set a large metal bowl over an ice bath (a bunch of ice in your sink or in a larger bowl.) Pour the reserved cup of heavy cream into the bowl and set the mesh strainer on top. If you haven’t already separated your egg yolks, do that now, and set them aside until step 4.

3. Once 30 minutes has passed, remove the basil leaves and stems from the infused cream by pouring the mixture through a mesh strainer into a small bowl.  Use the back of a spoon to press down on the basil leaves, squeezing out any remaining liquid, then discard the basil.*  Return the infused cream mixture to the pan.

4.  Rewarm the infused cream mixture over medium low heat. In a separate bowl (the one you strained the cream into before is fine) whisk together the egg yolks. Temper the egg yolks by ladling the warm, infused cream into the egg yolks a little bit at a time, whisking constantly, until the egg yolks are warm.  Pour the warmed egg yolks into the pan with the rest of the infused cream.

5. Cook the custard, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of your spoon, or at about 170 degrees.

6. Immediately strain the custard into the big mixing bowl with the reserved cream. Stir together over the ice bath until cool. Transfer cooled custard to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Overnight is better.

7. Freeze the ice cream according to the directions that came with your ice cream maker.  When ice cream has reached soft serve consistency, transfer it to an airtight container and gently spread strawberry jam in an even layer over the top of the ice cream. Freeze for at least three hours before serving.

*I saved the basil leaves in a Tupperware in the fridge and used them to sweeten tea throughout the week. This was a real treat and much less indulgent than the ice cream!

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Flag Cake

This is the first of a few posts celebrating all-American food for the upcoming holiday weekend. Enjoy!

I’ve made this once before, but I was sent to the emergency room before I got to try a piece. I was racing up the stairs from the basement, camera in hand, thinking that this was the coolest thing I had ever made and thus, definitely photo-worthy (come a long way, huh?). Looped around the banister was a strand of glass lights, one of which was broken. I grabbed the banister at just that spot and sliced my finger open. Fortunately, I managed to get my picture. Unfortunately, even though I was only at the ER for a few hours, the cake was gone by the time I got back.

I had to scan this picture in. I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I last made a flag cake!

I made this again for Memorial Day this year, and it turned out so well. It would be a perfect dessert for a 4th of July barbecue, especially since we’re in the midst of blueberry season here in Central Texas.

You could certainly choose to use boxed cake mix and frosting if you’re short on time, but homemade tastes so much better! Make sure you use a white cake (not yellow) to preserve the red, white and blue theme.

Cake recipe from Sara Moulton

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 12 Tbsp. (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 large egg whites (3/4 c.)
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting: (Keep in mind that buttercream should not be left outside in warm weather. I’d use another kind of frosting if you’re planning on keeping the cake outside.)

  • 16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ~4 c. confectioner’s sugar

For the decoration:

  • 2 lb. strawberries, washed, dried and sliced
  • 1/2 pint blueberries, washed and dried

Directions:

  • Set rack at the middle level in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom of a 13×9″ pan and line the bottom with parchment or wax paper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter for the cake and granulated sugar for about 5 minutes with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
  • Stir together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  • Stir together egg whites, milk and vanilla extract and set aside.
  • Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then add half the milk mixture. Continue to alternate the two, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scape the bowl and beater often.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a metal spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.
  • Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then turn out onto the rack, remove the paper and let cool completely.
  • Beat the butter for the frosting in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy (~5 minutes).
  • Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar until the frosting is stiff.
  • When the cake is cooled, using a long slicing knife (or one of these), slice the cake in half to make 2 layers.
  • Frost the top of one of the bottom layer with the buttercream, then arrange 1 lb. of the sliced strawberries on top of the frosting.
  • Put the second layer on top of the strawberries and frost the rest of the cake with the remaining buttercream.
  • In the upper left corner of the cake, arrange the blueberries in a rectangle-ish square to form the stars. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, use the remaining buttercream to pipe on the stars. I usually skip that. People know it’s the flag without the stars.
  • Using the other 1 lb. of strawberries, make horizontal rows across the cake to form the stripes.

Verdict:

This cake is a cross between sheet cake and strawberry shortcake, and in turn, it’s got the best of both worlds. The rich flavor of the buttercream is counterbalanced by the freshness of the berries, ensuring that the cake isn’t too heavy. The cake is moist and spongy, and a good vehicle for the berries and buttercream (sorry cake fans, I’m the kind of gal that always goes for the corner piece — the one with the most frosting). Although you can make this cake a single layer without the strawberries in the middle, it’s much better with it; the juice from the strawberries soaks into the middle of the cake and you get the strawberry taste in every bite.

Local Box, 04.22.2009

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Mmmm… Strawberries that really SMELL like strawberries! I tried to buy some at the grocery store recently, but they had no odor, so I passed. I can’t wait to taste these heavenly scented fruits!

The garlic scapes look like fun, but I’m not sure what I’ll do with them yet. How do you plan to use them?

Finally, cabbage + 90-degree weather = coleslaw, don’t you think? Looking forward to the first slaw of summer this week.

How do you plan to eat out of your Local Box this week?

Local Box Lookout, week of 04.06.2009

Here’s what to expect from next week’s Local Box. Remember you can still order up a Local Box until Saturday – and possibly later, depending on your zip code. Check out Greenling.com for details.

  • lettuce
  • herbs
  • tomato
  • French carrots
  • strawberries
  • spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • spring onions
  • radishes
  • arugula

Local Box, 04.01.2009

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The usual suspects arrived in today’s Local Box. More strawberries we’ll use for fresh eating, lovely greens for any number of dishes, and some lovely purple kohlrabi I’m eager to experiment with further.

How do you plan to eat out of your Local Box this week?

Local Box Lookout, week of 03.30.2009

Here’s the forecast for next week’s Local Box:

  • green lettuce
  • green garlic
  • collard greens
  • purple kohlrabi
  • strawberries
  • spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • spring leeks
  • microgreens
  • cilantro

Remember, you can still order next week’s Local Box through today (and possibly later, depending on your zip code). Enter your zip code at www.greenling.com to get started!

Local Box, 03.25.2009

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Wow – Those are some seriously large daikon radishes! Does anyone have any great ways with them? I’ve never cooked them before, but look forward to learning how!  I’m happy to see lots of greens this week, too, since I’ve been dreaming of polenta lately. And of course, strawberries float my boat like little else in the world.

What are you planning to make from your Local Box this week?