A few years back while in my old San Francisco stomping grounds, I got adventurous and tried some basil gelato. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but ended-up really liking it. Why does basil seem like a strange dessert ingredient to us when we are so accustomed to adding mint to so many desserts? Basil works in this sorbet…it really, really works. Combined with citrus it is the perfect refreshing dessert to top off a summer meal.
INGREDIENTS2 cups filtered water 1 cup Somersweet 3 limes, juiced 2 Meyer lemons, juiced 2 small oranges, juiced Zest from 1 lime, 1 orange, and 1 lemon 16 large basil leaves, torn ½ tsp each zest of lime, Meyer lemon, and orange (1 ½ tsp total) ¾ tsp very finely chopped basil 2 tsp olive oil ¼ tsp xanthan gum (helps with the texture when freezing)
To make the simple syrup place the first 7 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat while whisking. I used a microplane to zest the citrus.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer the syrup for 5 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and allow it to sit undisturbed for 30 minutes to encourage the flavors to develop further.
After 30 minutes, strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a glass measuring cup or bowl. Place the bowl in the fridge to cool (approx 1 hour).
While the syrup is almost done cooling, prepare the 1 ½ tsp zest and ¾ tsp very finely chopped basil.
Once the syrup has cooled, make a slurry with the olive oil and xanthan gum. Pour the cooled syrup into your Vitamix or blender along with the slurry and blend for 60 seconds. Once blended, add the zest and finely chopped basil. Pulse a few times. You do not want to emulsify the zest and basil, you simply want to incorporate it.
Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the cycle is complete, if you would like your sorbet to be more firm, simply place it in the freezer (be sure to take it out and stir it every 30 minutes or so).
This is best eaten the day it is prepared. If you have some extra time on your hands I suggest you serve it in lemons or oranges (simply cut the tops off and remove the citrus meat). If you leave the sorbet in the freezer overnight make sure you pull it out 15-20 minutes prior to serving so it has a chance to soften-up a bit.
For a printable version of this recipe click here.