Peach Basil Ice Cream

Fresh peaches are a perfect complement to the mellow basil flavor in this easy ice cream that screams summer.

Peach Basil Ice Cream |

I just changed my Google+ profile to read “wishful gardener.” Maybe next year I can edit it to “bountiful gardener.” (Speaking of, whatever type of gardner you are (bountiful to black thumb) I’d love to follow you on Google+, add me to your Google+ circles and I’ll reciprocate!)

Here’s a photo of my so-called “garden;” a sad tangle of long grass under an overgrown bush.


As you may know, our family moved from Chicago to the middle of nowhere (country) in December. Despite my sadness at leaving the city, I had big plans for a bountiful garden in our gigantic yard. My new farmer friends promised to come plow me a patch of earth saying, “I’ll come plow as soon as the ground dries out.” That day never came; the Mississippi has been at flood-stage for months.

So, earlier this spring, when I was itching to plant something ANYWHERE, (and had ordered WAY too many seeds from CooksGarden) I enlisted a friend to help me dig up a small patch around this gangly bush. Despite the weeds, it’s actually produced beautiful mixed lettuces, Watermelon Radishes, the crunchiest cucumbers ever, rhubarb, and beautiful basil from seed!

When I read this month’s Improv Challenge (a monthly recipe bloghop where Kristen @ Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker assigns two ingredients) of Peaches & Herbs, I knew I had to harness the mellow (herb-alicious!) flavor of my basil.

Peach Basil Ice Cream |

I decided to adapt a recipe for Sweet Basil & Honeyed Pine Nut Ice Cream from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer.

Below is my adaptation of Jeni’s recipe in which she masterfully uses small amounts of the secret ingredients corn syrup, cornstarch and cream cheese to whip up the creamiest premium ice cream, tasting just like it came from an ice cream shop. These ingredients help the protein in the milk products gain extra body and creamy structure; they also help avoid ice crystals ubiquitous in most homemade ice creams. I made this version much lower in fat and sugar, but still amazingly velvety and rich-tasting. The fresh peaches are a perfect complement to the mellow basil flavor – just don’t add too many or the extra juice will make ice crystals.

Peach Basil Ice Cream |

Even my husband loved this – and he’s a chocolate, vanilla or peanut butter ice cream kinda guy. No fussy flavors for him – usually – but when tasting this Peach Basil Ice Cream, he said “This is good, what is it mint?” Come to think of it, fresh mint would be a delicious substitution for the basil in this recipe!


Peach Basil Ice Cream – Improv Challenge

Fresh peaches are a perfect complement to the mellow basil flavor in this easy ice cream that screams summer.

  • Author: Serena Ball


  • 2 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 ounces 1/3-less fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Scant 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 1 large peach, peeled, chopped
  • Fresh peaches for serving


  1. Mix 2 tablespoons milk into cornstarch in a small bowl and mix well with a fork.
  2. Whisk cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
  3. Combine remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup in large saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes; stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in cornstarch mixture.
  4. Bring milk mixture back to a boil and cook stirring constantly until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  5. Gradually whisk hot milk into the cream cheese until smooth. Add basil. Cover with vented plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until cold, about 2 hours. (Alternately pour mixture in plastic zip-top bag and chill in ice bath.)
  6. Strain out basil. Pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions. During last 3 minutes of time in the ice cream maker, drop in peaches.
  7. Serve topped with plenty of fresh peaches

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We’re Serena & Deanna, two dietitians who love food as much as you do!  

We're also moms and business owners who share our family recipes, healthy kitchen hacks and nutrition adventures while keeping it real in the kitchen with you.

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