I know what you are thinking. “Basil???…Sherbet???” But trust me, this is lovely. This may be my favorite recipe from my daughter’s first birthday party.
It was wonderfully light, summery, and fresh with a very subtle basil flavor. This would make a gorgeous little palate-cleansing entremets if you were planning a truly luscious dinner party. We used it as a simple taste-of-something-sweet after lunch, but before the real dessert, lemonade cupcakes, was served.
I found this recipe over at Baking Obsession, where you’ll also find a beautiful (but a bit labor intensive) presentation idea: serving in a lemon-half.
This recipe freezes perfectly, so feel free to make this several days in advance of your event. That’ll give you more time to scoop out lemons and find itty-bitty basil leaves for garnish. 😉
A large bunch of basil (leaves weight – 30 g)
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
2 2/3 cup whole milk
Grated zest of 2 medium organic lemons
Tear the basil leaves roughly. Put the leaves and sugar into a medium bowl. With your fingers massage the leaves with sugar to release the basil aroma. Add the lemon juice to the bowl, stir, cover, and let stand for an hour.
Stir the milk into the lemon juice mixture. Strain through a fine sieve into another bowl or a large liquid-measuring cup, pressing lightly on the basil leaves. Add the lemon zest. Chill for about 4 hours. Process in an ice cream maker. If there’s any lemon zest accumulated on the dasher, scrape it and stir it back into the sherbet with a fork. Serve the sherbet soft right from the ice cream maker or transfer into an airtight container and transfer to the freezer to firm up (at least 3 to 4 hours) before serving.