Sage Ice Cream

I once tasted this incredible gelato in Santa Fe.  It was our last day there and we stopped in a little gelateria near downtown. The owner offered us a taste of sage. He had about a half dozen herbal flavors  —  basil, rosemary and thyme — but sage was hands down the best, he said. He couldn’t have been more right. If you’ve never had sage ice cream, you must try it. It’s refreshing like mint, but more subtle. It’s an unusual ice cream flavor that now makes all the sense in the world. It’s as memorable as the cinnamon gelato we had in Rome.

Summer berries are waning, so I figured last weekend was the perfect time to experiment with ice cream and sage. I picked this recipe on Epicurious after scouring the internet for ideas. This one had more than 50 people raving about how good it was. The egg yolks make it slightly yellow with a slight tint of green. The result is refreshing, creamy and decadent.

So here it is! It’s better than anything Ben & Jerry’s has come up with. I’m making this again soon. For fall: a scoop of sage ice cream with a warm piece of pumpkin cake.

Sage Ice Cream
Gourmet, October 2001

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh sage
4 (2- by 1/2-inch) strips lemon zest
9 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Bring cream, half-and-half, sage, and zest to a boil in a large heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Remove from heat and steep, covered, 10 minutes.

Whisk together yolks, granulated sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in half of hot cream, then whisk egg mixture into remaining cream in saucepan. Cook custard over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it coats back of spoon and reaches 170°F on thermometer, about 5 minutes (do not let boil).

Pour custard through a fine sieve into a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally. Chill custard, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 3 hours.

Freeze custard in ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.


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