Nothing speaks to me more of a summertime treat than peach ice cream. Here in Texas, we’re blessed with an abundance of fresh peaches, primarily from Parker County in North Texas and Gillespie County in the Hill Country. In July and August, these beauties are at their peak, and we’re making peach ice cream as fast as we can. My husband grows a few different varieties of basil in our garden and it occurred to me that some of the sweet and opal basil would be a good addition to our usual. He was dubious at first, but he’s learned to trust my palate’s understanding of good flavor profiles. Sure enough, the clean, bright basil played well against the sweet, juicy peaches — and he’s been won over. We use his fool-proof vanilla ice cream recipe as the base; it’s good for adding any variety of fruits and herbs. I’d love to try blackberry-mint soon, too. Note: We find that the crunchy ice sold at Sonic and Braum’s is best in the ice cream maker; it’s airy qualities somehow makes the ice cream set up faster. Allow plenty of time for the magic to happen, both in the ice cream maker and in your freezer.
Makes 4 quarts
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 tablespoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon sea salt
8 semi-ripe peaches, peeled and chopped, divided use
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped sweet or opal basil, divided use
4 cups whole milk
In a bowl, beat eggs until light. Add sugar and beat until thickened slightly. Add cream, vanilla, ginger and salt; beat well. Add half of the peaches and half the basil to the mixture, stir well to combine. Transfer the mixture to the cylinder of your ice cream maker, with paddle fitted in place. Pour milk in and stir once. Follow instructions for your automatic ice cream maker. When ice cream reaches soft-serve texture, transfer to dish or dishes that you’ll be using to store ice cream in the freezer. At this point, add the remaining chopped peaches and basil, stirring well to combine. Cover and freeze until set.