It seems that any time we work with a vibrant, fresh, and seasonal flavor, we can’t seem to resist turning it into an ice cream or a sorbet. Basil is one of those ethereal flavors that is magical when transported along the palate with the icy coolness of iced cream and just a tang of perfumed citrus on the after palate. The cinnamon tuile is a classic recipe that makes this simple recipe utterly elegant, not to mention a perfect palate complement to the flavors of the ice cream. To keep the ice cream light, we omitted the eggs and the traditional custard-style ice cream here, opting for a simple light cream infusion: Summer flavors frozen in time!
3 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean pod, split
6 fresh large basil leaves, coarsely torn or chopped
Zest of ½ orange
2/3 cup sugar
Place a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Combine the cream, vanilla, and basil to the pot. Gently warm the cream over the heat, but do not let it come to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat when the mixture is just coming to a simmer: you should see steam rising from the surface and small bubbles forming along the edges. Add the sugar and the orange zest, and stir until combined. Remove from the heat, set aside and allow the mixture to infuse while cooling to room temperature.
Optional: Strain into a clean container. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until cold, or overnight.
Stir the chilled mixture and then freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer ice cream to a container and freeze until solid, about 2 hours. Remove to the refrigerator to “cure” about 20 minutes before serving.
Tuiles are thin, crisp cookies that are meant to imitate the shape of a French roof tile. While the “classic” preparation is to drape the hot tuiles over a rolling pin to shape them, you can get adventurous and use underside of a muffin tin to form a cup.
Makes approx. 2 dozen (24) tuiles
4 tablespoons butter at room temperature
2 egg whites
½ cup flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
Scant 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the butter and egg whites with a whisk. Whisk until smooth. In a larger bowl, combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and cinnamon. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk until well combined.
Using an offset spatula, drop one tablespoon of the batter onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread very thin to form about a 6” diameter circle. The batter will look translucent in some spots. Repeat spacing each tuile about 3” apart.
Bake each cookie sheet separately for about 6 to 8 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to brown. Remove the cookies from the oven. Working quickly, drape the hot cookies over a rolling pin or the side of an empty wine bottle, making sure they do not touch. Once the cookies are firm, transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
Prepare the other cookie sheet for baking while the first is in the oven. Repeat. Make sure the cookie sheet is cool before spreading the next round of batter on it.
Recipe originally published in August 2005.