Basil Peach Cacao Nib Ice Cream

If you'd have told me 5 years ago that Colorado grew some of the juiciest peaches in the land, I wouldn't have believed you. But the farmers markets of Boulder and Denver have time and time again proved me wrong, during the most abundant 5-6 week window of late summer (for 2017, I've been told by farmers that's July 20-September 2 roughly). This recipe is refined sugar free and using herbs and fruit at the height of their season; for instance, store bought basil in January won't impart the same pungent fresh flavors as during its summer peak. 

Cacao nibs make everything better. 

Cacao nibs make everything better. 

Peach Basil Nib Ice Cream

YIELD: Yields about 1 quart or 800ml


  • 2 cups half and half
  • 3/4 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup local honey (spilt into 2)
  • pinch of Himalayan pink salt
  • 3-4 stalks of fresh basil (20 full sized leaves), torn or chopped roughly to release natural oils
  • 5 pasture egg yolks
  • 1 summer peach; (peel the skin and chop into mini cubes ~2cm across)
  • cacao nibs for topping 

To make:
Infuse the milk/cream
1. In a medium heavy saucepan or copper pot, stir together the liquids, half of the honey (1/4 cup), and salt.
2. Add the basil and bring the pan to medium high heat (allowing the mixture to just about bubble around the sides of the pot), then remove from heat and cover the pan to steep for ~20 minutes. (Taste until you've noticed a sweet basil flavor, too long and it will be bitter). Your basil may turn dark brown or black, this is OK. 

Separately, whisk the yolks In a medium (non-plastic) bowl, and add in the remaining 1/4 cup of honey, still whisking. Set aside. Uncover the cream mixture and put the pan over medium high heat. Just before the mixture starts to simmer, reduce the heat to medium.
3. About a 1/2 cup at a time, scoop out the heated mixture and whilst whisking the eggs/honey, slowly stir in the liquids to create a more viscose base. Repeat, adding another 1/2 cup at a time to the egg bowl. Once incorporated, add the egg and cream mixture back to the pot and with a heatproof spatula, stir on medium heat.
4. Continue to cook the mixture carefully, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened closely resembling a loose custard, & it coats the back of a spatula, leaving a clear mark when you run your finger across it, 1-2 minutes or maybe longer.
5. Strain the finished ice cream base through a fine-mesh sieve and into a clean (stainless steel) bowl. Set into an ice bath. With a clean spatula, stir until cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
6. Now the base is ready to be processed in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions; add the chopped peach chunks towards the last 5-10 minutes of the batch. Freeze immediately (at least 5 hours), or enjoy right out of the machine for a more "fro-yo" consistency. 
7. Top with nibs, fresh basil, and a peach slice for a beautiful presentation.