Lemon-Basil Sherbet

I’ve unpacked all my winter sweaters (I seem to collect these bargain-priced used wool sweaters like I collect all those bargain-priced used cookbooks- that is, in almost excessive quantities) and they’re lined neatly on freshly papered shelves where I can look at them all as I think about what kind of stew to make when it’s finally cold enough to wear a wool sweater again. I’m thinking a lot about sweaters today, but not much about making ice creams… Truth is though, this summer’s not quite over, and before it is actually over, I want to share this sherbet recipe with you, which I adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert.  I made this sherbet earlier this summer, and it’s just too good to miss sharing with you simply because my head’s already stuck in autumn’s clouds. Bright with fresh basil and lots of lemon, this sherbet’s light and tart enough to feel cleansing. Let this be your summer palate cleanser; a cold and clean finish to one of the hottest summers I’ve known.

Lemon-Basil Sherbet
serves 4-6

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
a very generous handful of fresh basil leaves (about 1 cup)
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp finely minced fresh basil

In a large jar (or other food storage container), stir together the sugar, lemon juice, and basil leaves, and let stand at room temperature until all the sugar is dissolved, then seal the jar and stick it in the fridge. Let it chill for at least an hour, but preferably overnight (the longer it sits the stronger the basil flavor can be).
Strain the mixture into the milk and heavy cream, pressing on the basil leaves to to make sure you get all the juice out of them. Discard the basil.
Stir in the lemon zest and minced basil, then chill the mixture in the freezer for about half an hour, then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker.