Basil Ice Cream

This is an herbaceous ice cream that would do well with a simple sugar or shortbread cookie.

1 cup milk, divided                                                     1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup whipping cream                                                 1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 large or 4 small egg yolks                                         Garnish: fresh basil sprigs

Cook 1/2 cup milk in a heavy saucepan over low heat until bubbly. Stir in basil leaves, and remove from heat. Cover and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.  Process basil mixture in a blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, discarding solids. Set aside.  Cook remaining 1/2 cup milk, whipping cream, and 1/4 cup sugar in saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, just until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat.  Beat egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until thick and pale. Gradually stir about one-fourth of hot milk mixture into yolks; add to remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly. Stir in basil mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 minutes or until mixture thickens and coats a spoon. Cover and chill 4 hours.  Pour chilled mixture into ice cream maker of choice and follow their directions. Serve in frozen lemon shells, and garnish, if desired. This recipe can easily be doubled or quadrupled for larger ice cream makers/crowds.

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