Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lemon Mixed Herb Ice Cream

I kill things. Let me rephrase that. I kill most green things. I take amazing care of animals but a plant can be in the corner of my living room screaming "water me!" and I will walk blithely by not hearing its cries.  So it is a real life miracle that my herb garden survived the winter on my terrace. I abandoned it after the summer and left it to fend for itself. Surprisingly, it came back stronger than ever and I made this ice cream to celebrate.

I also used lemons I brought back to NYC from California picked from my friends' orchard. Only the zest was used. Since I am always squeamish about adding lemon juice to milk product for fear of curdling, I took the chicken way out and flavored the ice cream using lemon extract. 

Basil, rosemary, and thyme from my NYC terrace herb garden were chopped it up and infused into the custard. The result was a light lemony taste with unexpected bursts of herb flavor. A Perfect summer treat.

Lemon Mixed Herb Ice Cream

  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme

  • In a medium saucepan bring milk, cream, and lemon extract almost to a boil. Add lemon zest, set aside and let steep for half hour.
  • Whisk egg yolks with white granulated sugar.
  • Reheat the milk/cream/lemon flavor and slowly pour some into the egg/sugar mixture whisking quickly to temper the eggs.
  • Scrape the tempered mixture back into the rest of the milk/cream/lemon and reheat stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens a bit, coating the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Remove from heat and strain.
  • Add mixed herbs.
  • Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the top of the mixture.
  • Refrigerate for at lease 3 hours or overnight.
  • Place in ice cream maker and follow manufacturers directions.
  • Transfer the ice cream to a container and place in freezer until it hardens.


  1. Your blog is so deliciously written and photographed. Congratulations!

  2. I so love the addition of herbs into ice creams, cookies, pastries lately. I've made lemon ice cream but I think I only used the zest. This would be a refreshing yet sultry type of dessert.

  3. This sounds incredible - so refreshing and aromatic! What a treat for summer, it's a shame about the weather here in England! Really lovely recipe.

  4. Herbs in ice cream...Love it! I've never tasted lemon ice cream, but it looks delicious. Recently had lemonade with basil and it was yum, ice cream is next.

  5. When you come over for dinner could you bring this for dessert? :-)

    We had a ridiculously warm winter (first time there hasn't been a blizzard since we moved to Kansas), so all my parsley just popped right back up in the spring. It's the first time I've ever been able to keep anything alive and I really didn't have anything to do with it!

  6. Lemon and herbs go so well together in sweet things! I have managed to kill off a garden of herbs before so more power to you for keeping them alive!

  7. This reminds me of herbs from the Maquis in Corsica with the heat...
    That is so funny about your plant treatment, Lora - these must be pretty robust herbs! Love your ice cream here and can just imagine its zingy, refreshing taste.

  8. The best of both worlds in an ice cream. Amazing that your herbs survived over the winter but certainly glad that they did.

  9. Ha, I sort of have that problem with plants too. Luckily my dogs and cats fare much better!! I love this ice cream, I think my body temp went down about 15 degrees just looking at it. Thank you for that!

  10. Delicious! I was just putting some basil buttermilk sorbet together. I love herbed ice cream. And lemon is a perfect compliment.

    I kill plants too. I currently have a giant slumping aloe. I heard you couldn't kill aloe, but somehow I'm managing.

  11. Have you noticed I'm doing a little blog catch up... so fun to have a quiet morning while everyone is still sleeping...

    I made a lemon buttermilk ice cream this summer with zest and straight up fresh lemon. It didn't curdle. I just closed my eyes and trusted in the process. Maybe because buttermilk was in it? I don't know but it was so good. I also had REAL lemons from a friend with a tree in Santa Cruz. It makes me feel very sorry for the store bought ones.

    I like the idea of the herbs in the ice cream- maybe a little rosemary or lemon thyme shortbread to accompany.

    1. You must have had a lot of time in your hands :-). Real lemons are the best. I love your shortbread suggestion. Could even mix it in with the ice cream.

  12. Now you are talking... the graham cracker crumbs in the cheesecake ice cream really held their flavor - bet shortbread in ice cream would be awesome.
    It was a lovely early morning and I focused on a couple favorite sites :-)


Thank you for your comments and feedback. I love hearing from you!