Lemon Basil Ice Cream & A Visit From Georgia Pellegrini

by Marla on August 5, 2011 · 68 comments

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Oh friends do I have an amazing treat for you today…ICE CREAM. Make that two amazing treats. I have my awesome pal Georgia Pellegrini guest posting with her gorgeous homemade Lemon Basil Ice Cream! *happy dance* If you have never met Georgia before then here is your chance to hang with one of the finest chefs, hunters, writers and well rounded gals I know. She will make you crave local, seasonal ingredients.

She will inspire you to dash outdoors to garden, forage and roam the land for your food. Her recipes are amazing and her story telling will give you the giggles and you’ll learn lots. Her tagline is Redefining Slow Food. Those 3 words say it all. Really. *all of the gorgeous photos in this post are Georgia’s

Take it away miss Georgia……

I am thrilled to be paying a visit to Marla and Family Fresh Cooking today. This is one of my favorite blogs because not only do I adore Marla as a friend, but her cooking and recipes are right up my alley. I’m going to share one of my favorite summer recipes with you, with ingredients straight from my garden and my chicken coop, and perfect for this summer heat. It turns the idea of a sweet treat on its head a bit by adding something savory to the mix– it’s Lemon Basil Ice Cream!


For those of you who don’t know me yet, I grew up in a place called Tulipwood on the same land that my great grandfather lived on in the Hudson Valley. I developed a great appreciation for living off the land and getting dirt under my finger nails. We have very loud guinea hens, and a fleet of Rhode Island Reds, and once there was a love story between a rooster named Buster and a white hen named Lucy.

There are also dozens of wild turkeys that roam around. In fact they’ve just hatched some new members of the family.

There are also the small pleasures and first times here, like the first blueberry of the season, the important task of summer gardening, the battle against the woodchucks, weeding the new garden with its very tall deer fence, seeing the chickens play outside in the grass selecting worms and fighting over tortellini scraps…and the anticipation of robbing the honeybees for the first time every year.

I travel a lot these days in order to write my books. But when I stop in to visit Tulipwood, I like to cook as much as possible. I have cooked a lot with my grandmother through the years and planted her kitchen herb garden often since she thinks there is nothing better than fresh herbs. One of her favorite herbs to grow is stevia leaves, a natural sweetener. She and I don’t have a sweet tooth… in fact, she taught me that in most recipes, you can often cut the sugar down to about 1/3 of what it calls for and taste the rest of the ingredients much better that way.

But there is something about this ice cream… I think what makes it so intoxicating is the basil. She would have preferred I use stevia here, and you definitely can if you have it handy!

One of the things I like about making my own ice cream is knowing how simple the ingredient profile truly is. I think it’s catching on, because have you noticed now there is a certain brand of Hagen Daaz promoting just “4 simple ingredients?”

For this, I went out to the chicken coop and grabbed a few eggs, zested a lemon, added sugar, cream, milk and picked some basil. And a pinch of salt.

I just heated the milk and cream with the zest and basil along with a pinch of salt. Brought it up to a boil, then shut off the heat and let it infuse. I also stirred it often so the bottom didn’t scorch.

The only tricky part here is that you “temper” the yolk. That simply means you add a bit of the warm liquid to it rather than all at once. If you added it all at once, you would likely cook the eggs. You mix the eggs with a bit of the warm liquid, and then add a little bit more, stirring constantly, scraping down the sides to avoid scrambled eggs.

Then you return it all to the sauce pan and stir it constantly over low heat until it thickens to the point where you can leave a track with your finger on the spatula.

Then, you run it through the ice cream maker and in about an hour, you have…

This! It was about 100 degrees outside with lots of humidity, so yours may not melt faster than you can snap a photo. But either way it’s spectacular.

I think it truly is my favorite. What’s your favorite ice cream?

*Thanks Georgia! By the way did you see last month I paid her a visit? We like hanging out for reals and on each others blogs. Also Georgia has authored two books Food Heroes and Girl Hunter. You can also follow Georgia on Twitter, Facebook, RSS and StumbleUpon.

Lemon Basil Ice Cream

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Lemon Basil Ice Cream


  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar


  • Put the ice cream container from your ice cream maker in the freezer. Heat the milk and cream with the zest and basil along with a pinch of salt. Bring it up to a gentle boil, then shut of the heat and let it infuse. Make sure to stir so the bottom doesn’t scorch. Let sit and infuse until no longer hot, but still warm. Separately, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until they are light in color from the air that you’ve incorporated. Set it aside. Mix the basil milk in a blender until uniform. Temper the yolks by adding a bit of the warm liquid to them gradually. Keep stirring constantly, scraping down the sides to avoid scrambled eggs. Return it all to the sauce pan and stir it constantly over low heat until it thickens to the point where you can leave a track with your finger on the spatula. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes, then pour the liquid into the frozen ice cream container and run it through the ice cream maker for 50-60 minutes.

Homemade Ice Cream Links

*This post was added to Tidymom’s I’m Loving It Friday’s series

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosa August 5, 2011 at 6:21 am

What a beautiful ice cream! That flavor is so refreshing and refined.




2 Marla August 5, 2011 at 6:33 am

Rosa, yes these are very refined flavors as is miss Georgia. That gal can do anything and look spectacular while roughing it!


3 shelly (cookies and cups) August 5, 2011 at 6:23 am

Gorgeous post! Love Georgia!
4 ingredients is right up my alley!


4 Marla August 5, 2011 at 6:32 am

Shelly, I know isn’t it amazing what you can do with 4 ingredients!


5 foodwanderings August 5, 2011 at 6:34 am

TY Marla for the into to georgia. What an organic way of living. Love the photograph of her grandmother. So beautiful! The ice cream too:).


6 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga August 5, 2011 at 6:42 am

What a lovely tag team: two amazing, talented, and gorgeous ladies teaming up for one fantastic post.

Thanks, you two.

And Marla, we are missing you down here in San Diego! I just posted about TWO events that I went to Thurs night. Lori said she wants a private camera session with you b/c your photos are always so amazing :)


7 Marla August 5, 2011 at 6:44 am

Averie, I will dash over to your blog now to read about San Diego. Awesome that you are having so much fun and meeting awesome pals like Lori! I think I will take her up on that private camera session – would be a blast!


8 Kate@Diethood August 5, 2011 at 6:46 am

Goodness…does this sound amazing!! This is a good reason…no, a VERY good reason to hang out with my ice cream maker later on today.


9 Georgia Pellegrini August 5, 2011 at 6:47 am

Thanks so much for having me here Marla! Look forward to seeing you in person soon, xox.


10 Bev Weidner August 5, 2011 at 6:50 am

I love both of you. And I love that ice cream. And I’m about to hop on a plane to crash that party. Seriously.


11 Marla August 5, 2011 at 7:34 am

Come on over Bev and crash!! We would LOVE to have you :)


12 Curt August 5, 2011 at 6:53 am

What a great flavor for ice cream. Beautiful pictures also by the way.


13 Brooke @ Food Woolf August 5, 2011 at 6:54 am

Georgia, you are living a gorgeous life! Oh, and you’re beautiful inside and out. Great to see and taste the flavors of your world.


14 Esi August 5, 2011 at 7:01 am

Lovely post and the ice cream sounds amazing


15 susan August 5, 2011 at 7:27 am

I love Georgia’s story, the way it is written and her photos. Thanks for her with all of us, Marla – it was a great read!


16 Amanda August 5, 2011 at 7:36 am

That picture of the woman in the blue shirt at the table… is stunning. Brought tears to my eyes. I am not kidding… it moved me! This is a touching a beautiful post with so many things to ponder and consider. As well as a wonderful recipe! :) Thanks Marla and Georgia!


17 Marla August 5, 2011 at 7:46 am

Amanda, yup it will make you ponder, consider and slow down a bit huh! When I see the beauty of Tulipwood farm and G’s family it makes me reconsider opening up any food in wrappers.


18 TidyMom August 5, 2011 at 7:40 am

oh Georgia this look FABULOUS!!

I LOVE the picture with your grandma, make me miss mine! Both of my grandmas would have loved my blog, I wish they were both still here for me to share them with my readers!


19 Marla August 5, 2011 at 7:47 am

Me too Cheryl. They would be amazed and so proud, huh!


20 Kulsum at JourneyKitchen August 5, 2011 at 7:41 am

if it’s an ice cream it should be lemon with basil! (besides anything chocolate and vanilla) Great guest post. Georgia sounds a great person, a great cook and oh gosh she looks great doing all that :-)


21 Marla August 5, 2011 at 7:44 am

Kulsum, I know seriously we can all take lessons from Georgia :)


22 Diane August 5, 2011 at 8:10 am

I think that this has just become my favourite ice cream :-) Diane


23 aida mollenkamp August 5, 2011 at 8:11 am

Fab guest post, Georgia! That ice cream sounds so refreshing and those photos make me want to move to Tulipwood immediately.


24 Marla August 5, 2011 at 9:27 am

Aida, I think we all need a field trip to Tulipwood….


25 gretchen August 5, 2011 at 8:18 am

what lovely photos and a delicious-looking recipe! tulipwood looks like such a happy, charming place. i’m ready to move out to the farm! :) thanks for sharing pretty georgia with us…


26 Allison [Girl's Guide to Social Media] August 5, 2011 at 8:23 am

Love this. What a nice and refreshing treat to begin my Friday morning at work. Thanks Marla and Georgia.


27 Erin @ Brownie Bites August 5, 2011 at 9:14 am

I’m so jealous of Georgia for going after a dream like that. I’ll have to pick up her book and see what it’s all about. What an adventure.


28 Marla August 5, 2011 at 9:26 am

Erin, she is an amazing gal with lots of energy! Do go get her book Food Heroes. It is wonderful and very inspirational. I will make you want to seek out culinary artisans and use locally sourced ingredients.


29 Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet August 5, 2011 at 9:14 am

Love the pictures and the ice cream!


30 Barefoot Pregnant and In The Kitchen August 5, 2011 at 9:24 am

Looks and sounds amazing! Though I’m not making ice cream I am doing my own Lemon Basil post/recipe as we speak… muffins and maybe shortbread cookies if I’m energetic!


31 Marla August 5, 2011 at 9:25 am

Lemon Basil anything is great in my book! Please come back and share your links if you post those recipes. I will be on the lookout too :)


32 Angie's Recipes August 5, 2011 at 10:21 am

Great guest post! I have just developed loving the herb ice creams. This looks so refreshing and fine.


33 Katrina August 5, 2011 at 11:55 am

Beautiful photos in this post! Great idea.


34 Lucy August 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm

What a lovely guest post – thanks for inviting us all in to share the inspiration – love those little fuffy chicks… FYI I think that certain ice cream is actually FIVE ingredients – and the name of their brand at HD.


35 Maris (In Good Taste) August 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Looks like a very lovely dish of ice-cream. Love the photos!


36 sweetsugarbelle August 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Beautiful doesn’t adequately describe the way I feel about this post. Its more than that. Inspiring! I’m a little embarrassed to admit I’ve never met Georgia. Thank you for introducing me :-)


37 Prerna@IndianSimmer August 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Oh man! Like, seriously?! Lemon and basil in an ice cream? I am SO loving your guest blogger and what a shame I never visited her blog before. I will correct that right now! But before that I have to make this ice cream since I have both lemon and basil at home and a lot of time in hand over the weekend. Yay, thanks for the recipe and a fabulous guest post Marla!!


38 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com August 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Great post Georgia! I’ve been following your blog and loved reading your journey in Food Heroes. Gorgeous photos btw :)


39 Angie August 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm

What a fabulous treat!!! Georgia you are so creative! I never would have thought of those 2 ingredients for icecream but it sounds very fun and refreshing! Incredible photos. Love the lone blueberry! Those chicks are adorable! Miss you Marla but I know you are in your happy place full of love, freedom and inspiration. xo


40 Marla August 5, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Hey Angie, G is super creative and a very talented chef. That single blueberry is a try treat huh! She has a great eye for composition & photography.
As far as being in my happy place….Never want to leave. Ever.


41 La Petite Vancouver August 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Lemon and basil combo is genius !! I bet it tasted heavenly!


42 Sharon {Grumpy, Sleepy, and Bashful} August 5, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I may not have a chicken coop, but I do have fresh basil and a local grocery store. I cannot WAIT to try this. So simple, I can only imagine how DIVINE it tastes. Leave it to wonderful people like yourself to bring totally fantastic things into my life that would not otherwise exist!!


43 Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner August 5, 2011 at 10:01 pm

TURKEYS!!! I love it!


44 Mark@SeasonWithSpice August 6, 2011 at 1:53 am

Thanks for highlighting my Smoky Vanilla Coffee Ice Cream recipe. Really like the natural green of this recipe. Will have to try a basil flavor the next time I make ice cream.

By the way, great shot of the rooster and hen having a conversation at the door.


45 Joanne August 6, 2011 at 3:01 am

What a gorgeous guest post with such a great message behind it!

I made thai basil ice cream recently and I think lemon basil must be next. Looks delicious!


46 Najwa Kronfel August 6, 2011 at 6:55 am

I love the combination of flavors! nice photos too :)


47 Sonia August 7, 2011 at 1:09 am

Hi Marla, nice to meet you 😉 thanks for visit and comment my blog (sorry for my bad english :-) I added to my blogroll very pleased not to lose your post.
Have a nice day


48 Renata August 7, 2011 at 2:31 am

The flavors and the color of this ice cream are so inviting!
You have a beautiful blog! Thanks for visiting :)


49 Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen August 7, 2011 at 4:19 am

What a lovely place. Wow. I feel like I’ve been on a mini-vacation this morning.Thank you.

You asked about our favorite ice cream. Until now I would have said mango sorbet, but I’ve changed my mind. It’s lemon basil.


50 Deliciously Organic August 7, 2011 at 7:36 am

Lemon ice cream is my absolute favorite. But I’ve never tried it with basil, looks so refreshing. The photos of Georgia’s home are beautiful.


51 Marla August 7, 2011 at 8:00 am

Carrie, I know Tulipwood is pretty beyond belief. An idyllic setting for certain. Would love my kids to have a run around there :)


52 megan @ whatmegansmaking August 8, 2011 at 6:36 am

beautiful ice cream, lovely post! :)


53 SMITH BITES August 8, 2011 at 6:37 am

absolutely a perfect summer treat – we make LOTS of ice cream here because . . . well because it’s The Professor’s treat of choice anytime!


54 HeatherChristo August 8, 2011 at 7:56 am

Georgia and Marla- what a beautiful post! I love the pictures of your grandmother’s farm, and the sweet one of her. I do actually have tons of stevia growing in my garden, and I never have done much with it besides use it in iced tea. I guess this beautiful ice cream is now on my list!


55 Angie August 8, 2011 at 10:20 am

I love it, looks so good. And I also love you too Georgia!


56 The Cilantropist August 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

Georgia this is a wonderful post, and how nice to see photos of your rural life and hear about times cooking with your grandmother, those are truly special experiences. And this ice cream! I love making my own homemade ice cream, and basil and lemon pair together perfectly. Thanks for sharing!


57 Tickled Red August 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I just love this flavor combo for ice cream! So fresh. You two are just adorable and make me smile always. Hmmm…my favorite flavor. I have to go with coffee vanilla bean. I know, typical but I love it. Xoxo-Shari


58 Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} August 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Definitely a great combination of flavors! It looks fabulous!


59 bridget {bake at 350} August 8, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Love seeing Georgia visit your blog! Two beautiful bloggers in the same place! :) And ice cream, too…yay!!!


60 Carolyn August 9, 2011 at 9:14 am

Oh, wonderful ice cream! I’ve made basil ice cream before, but I love the lemon with it, a great idea. Great guest post!


61 Alexis June 7, 2012 at 8:44 am

Love to try this out! I definitely agree with your grandmother, most recipes use way too much sugar, totally covers the taste of other ingredients.


62 nadja June 2, 2013 at 6:25 pm

This recipe is delicious!
Instead of mixing it in a blender I started by chopping the basil in a food processor.
Also after mixing both the egg yolks and the cream I passed it through a strainer before returning it to the sauce pan.
I personally think there is a little bit too much sugar but my husband doesn’t think so.
Next time I double the recipe because!


63 Kristen August 9, 2013 at 7:03 am

I tried out this recipe and it’s delicious! But two things to note:
-I think it’s important to mention that the egg mixture should be cooked until it reaches 160 degrees (http://www.eggsafety.org/consumers/egg-safety).
-The ice cream will have a smoother consistency if you let the base cool overnight in the fridge before running it through the ice cream maker.

Thanks for sharing!


64 Cyndy December 14, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Kirsten, this is what I did and it worked really well.


65 Cyndy December 14, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Lemon Basil Ice Cream to die for. Thanks for the recipe, I made it yesterday and served it to some friends and they loved it.
I did find that it was a very light set and I would have liked it just a little thicker. Have you any suggestions how to do this? I churned it for at least 50 minutes.
But it was a fabulous taste! Thanks again


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