Two years ago, when we first moved into our house, I ended up buying a Donvier ice cream maker on a whim. It's nothing fancy - no wires, no motors, no layering of ice and salt. It's just good old-fashioned hand crank action and a removable freezer bowl.
To The Boy, though, this humble little gadget is his excuse to turn the kitchen into an experimental laboratory - he's constantly dreaming up new flavour combinations, some of them fairly traditional and some that are... well... a little less orthodox to say the least.
In fact, for the past two years he's been trying to talk me into letting him make bacon ice cream, but I'm not sold on it. Yet.
I'm happy to play guinea pig, though, when it comes to delicious experiments like Mario Badali's olive oil gelato (you'll have to trust me on this one) or a refreshing cucumber-lemon-gin sorbet.
This particular recipe isn't one of The Boy's, though... it comes from my foodie friend Julia, who recently picked up the ice cream bug, and who was kind enough to share the recipe. It may seem like a strange flavour combination, but blood orange and basil come together surprisingly well.
- 1 cup fresh-squeezed blood orange juice
- ¼ cup orange liqueur (pref Cointreau)
- ½ cup fresh basil
- 1½ cups milk
- 1½ cups whipping cream (35%)
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- Zest of 2 blood oranges
- In a small saucepan, warm the milk and ½ cup cream until wisps of steam begin to rise from the surface. Stir in the basil and remove from heat. Set aside to steep, covered, for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, combine blood orange juice and liqueur in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and cook until reduced to ¼ cup of syrupy liquid, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- After an hour has passed, return to the milk mixture. Remove basil, and stir in sugar and remaining 1 cup of cream. Warm the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until you see wisps of steam.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks. Ladle in a small amount of the warm milk mixture, whisking vigorously to keep the eggs from curdling. Slowly pour in the remainder of the warm milk, one or two ladlefuls at a time, whisking constantly as you go.
- Once all the milk has been incorporated into the eggs, pour mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spatula (a silicone spatula is your best friend when it comes to custard-making - if you don't have one, get one. It's worth it). Remove from heat and whisk in blood orange syrup and orange zest; set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Pour mixture into a clean mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. To ensure your ice cream will set properly, chill custard in refrigerator for 2-3 hours to cool thoroughly before pouring it into your ice cream maker and freezing as per manufacturer's instructions.