Dessert · Recipes · Vegetarian

Creamy, chewy, fresh basil gelato

During our stay in the Cinque Terre, we planned to visit each of the five villages that make up the “cinque” (5).  On one particularly hot day we chose to visit Corniglia, the least touristy village perched high up on a cliff and only accessible via the walking paths or train (there is no harbour so the ferry boat doesn’t stop there).  Coming off the train, we were faced with climbing almost 400 steps in the scorching heat to actually reach the village.  Even the poor fur baby (who generally has too much energy to burn and is happy to do zoomies multiple times a day) tried to take a break every 10 steps or so.  And by break I mean lay down and take a nap.

When we finally reached the village (and after a quick drink and rest) the only thing on my mind was getting some gelato.  Who am I kidding, the gelato was on my mind from the get go… (I’d read that Corniglia has one of the best gelataria’s in the region).  Not one for choosing the ordinary ‘vanilla’ flavours, and always seeking out the weird ones, naturally I chose basil, much to Mr P’s disgust (“errrr whyyyy?!?!”).  And it was DELICIOUS.  Even Mr P agreed… ok maybe he didn’t think it was ‘delicious’ but I did get a “meh it’s ok” out of him (which is a success in itself as it’s difficult to get much more of a reaction from him on food unless it’s a burger. Or a kebab…).

Anywho, I became determined to replicate the taste.  I promptly ordered a gelato machine online, hoping it would be delivered in time for our return to Paris (it wasn’t, it took an additional painfully long week…).  Once it arrived, it became my new BFF and I quickly got started trying to replicate that deliciously refreshing basil gelato… here it is!


Creamy, chewy, fresh basil gelato basil 1

2 1/3C full cream milk
2/3C cream (30%)
2TB corn starch
1C fresh picked basil leaves
1 1/2TB stevia powder

Serve with honey, walnuts, pinenuts, other gelato…

basil 2 basil basil 3

1. Blend the basil with the milk until completely pulverised and no longer chunky.
2. Mix the corn starch and stevia with 1-2TB of the cream and gradually add more cream until the paste becomes liquid.
3. Place the basil milk into a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and slowly whisk in the corn starch cream. Heat, continuously whisking, until the mixture bubbles. Once boiling, lower heat and boil for about 2mins until it is think and custard-like.
4. Remove basil custard from heat, pour into a bowl, cover with plastic and cool. Once cool, refrigerate overnight (this adds extra creaminess but if you are tight with time, don’t worry about it).
5. Pour custard into your ice-cream maker and churn as per your machines instructions. Enjoy!


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