Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nectarines and Cream and Basil? I dare you.

I adore tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad.  A couple of weeks ago, I made one.  I had bought a huge bunch of basil (I don't have it growing in my yard) and wondered what to do with the rest of it. I couldn't just throw it out, and basil turns very quickly. 

I went online and searched for some kind of sauce to make and stumbled on a basil clear syrup. Interesting, I thought. What would I put it on? There was a recipe to add it to peaches and ice cream. Honestly I wasn't bowled over by the idea. But I made the syrup and set it in the refrigerator while I contemplated the idea.

A week later, as I thought about what I would serve guests for dessert, the recipe came back to me, and I thought why not? Something new. Be daring. It is, after all, August. I have nothing better to do than to be daring.

So I made some fresh mascarpone ice cream.

I bought some peaches and nectarines, but before I announced my dessert plans, my guests ate all the peaches, so I opted for nectarines, and put together a very simple and delicious dessert. The basil has just the right about of zest to zing up something as plain as ice cream and fruit.  And it was so pretty.

So when in doubt, take the risk. Be daring. Be bold. What is the worst that could happen? You could pour it down the disposal and be left with ice cream and fruit and NO SAUCE. Add a slice of cheese.  Not bad.

10-12 leaves basil, washed (about 2 cups)
1 cup sugar
1 cups water

In a saucepan, combine sugar and water. Stir to combine. Turn on heat to medium-high and boil for 3 to 5 minutes, until syrup is thicker but not yet starting to turn color. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.

Pour warm syrup in a blender. Throw in basil leaves. Pulse once quickly for larger chunks of basil; blend for a few seconds for more of a green syrup. (It may look a little funky, but man, does it taste good.)

(Can refrigerate sauce and use later.)


1 scoop of ice cream per serving
½ nectarine (or peach) in slices per serving
2-3 Tablespoons Basil syrup

Scoop ice cream onto a plate, arrange nectarines around it, top with syrup.


I use:  Cuisinart Counter top Mixer. EASY, PEASY.

3 egg yolks
1 c. sugar
1 c. half and half
1 c. whipping cream
1 c. (8 oz.) mascarpone
1 tsp. G-F vanilla

Stir together yolks and sugar and cook in saucepan, 30 seconds on low.
Add half and half, cook 1 minute on low.
Stir and cook 1 more minute.
Stir and cook 1 additional minute.  [Total 3 ½ minutes.]
Add whipping cream, mascarpone, and vanilla.
Stir and let cool to room temperature. 

Chill 1-3 hours in refrigerator


Start counter top mixer.  Add cream mixture.  Whip 20-25 minutes

Pour into clean containers and freeze.


Say cheese!!!
* * * * * * **


  1. Sounds delicious to me! I think I'd try an opal basil. What is G-F vanilla?

  2. My favorite part of this story is "My guests ate all the peaches." LOL! Cooking always requires a bit of improvisation, doesn't it? You came up with a unique dessert, though. I bet they loved it!

    ~ Krista

  3. Katreader, hi. I don't know what an opal basil is, but sounds interestings. GF vanilla is gluten-free vanilla (or vanillin). Because I have to eat gluten-free, I often add things that are "GF" - sorry about that. Regular vanilla will do! :)


  4. Krista, I'm glad you were laughing. I was just so happy I'd thought to purchase another fruit and it was in the same family. BTW, the nectarines right now are perfect! I'm not so sure about mid September, but now...oh, yum!


  5. I have a basil plant, I will have to try this. What else could you use the syrup for? How long can the syrup keep in the refrigerator? Could the syrup be frozen? Thanks :)

  6. I read last year that the FDA declared all vanilla extracts have to be gluten free so any vanilla should be safe.

    Sara Thompson

  7. Helen, It should keep at least a month. Sugar is an amazing preserver. I think it would be good drizzled over cream cheese and served with crackers. Add it to a cocktail (maybe rum with basil syrup, like a mojito). Haven't tried that but just might later today. LOL Read a few posts online and see that someone adds it to their fruit salad and over watermelon. She also said she freezes hers, so I guess it can be frozen.


  8. Anonymous - I didn't know that, but prior to perhaps that "fiat" vanilla was brewed in whiskey and therefore had glutenous properties. My sister (who is also celiac) gets very sick having any kind of candy that has "real" vanilla in it. I don't seem to have that problem, but I avoid it when it's on a wrapper. I know that I can make my own vanilla, but have to say that I haven't yet. I think Krista has and she told me to brew it in vodka. However, I just found out that all vodkas are not potato anymore. Can you believe that!!!!!


  9. Avery,

    Thought of you when I saw this --

    Judy Alter shared a great tip, on this blog, for freezing basil. I've been sending to all my herb growing friends. But should work for leftovers too.

  10. Those guests! Ha!

    This is a fantastic idea for using basil, Avery! I've got a bunch in my garden right now and have been trying to figure out what to do with it.

  11. Liz, thanks for the link! Perfect. And I forgot about Judy sharing that tip. You're right. It was only a week ago. Bad memory on my part.

    Elizabeth/Riley - Glad to help. Another person suggested making pesto sauce and freezing that.


  12. WOW!! I so enjoy the way you combine flavors, Avery. Very daring and inventive...can't wait to try this!

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  13. So, in the first paragraph, you said clear basil syrup, then warn of the green funky color. So i am assuming it is indeed green. I was pondering the whole post how you were going to make this clear.

    I think this sound wonderful! Now I am pondering where to put this simple syrup (and I have a basil patch)

  14. Cleo, thanks. I try to be daring in every aspect of my life. I fail, of course, but I try. :)

    Okay, Dave, yes, it's green. It's clear because it's water and sugar that become "clear." Bad titles. Rats. I'm always about titles and I got this one wrong. I guess I meant simple? LOL

    Try putting it on a fruit salad and let me know how it is!