Ice, ice, baby

Beat the heat with refreshing frozen desserts in gourmet flavors.

Photographed by Eugenia Uhl

As a child, there was nothing better than a sweet, syrupy bubble gum snowball or a scoop of good old-fashioned vanilla ice cream after a long, hot day at summer camp. Every now and then, I’ll still get one of those cravings, but as I’ve matured, so has my palate. Among my favorite sophisticated summertime desserts are sorbets, sherbets and ice creams in exotic flavors such as basil-lemon, passion fruit and green tea. So chill out — these recipes not only sound cool, but they’re also a breeze to prepare!

Basil-Lemon Sorbet
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
24 basil leaves
12 mint leaves
In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 10 minutes. Add the basil and mint, and set the mixture aside to steep for 3 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve, and set it aside to cool. Transfer it to the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled, and then process it in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the sorbet to a freezer-proof container with a lid, and freeze it until ready to serve.

Passion Fruit Sherbet
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 3/4 cups passion fruit concentrate
1 mango, peeled, seeded and sliced
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water, and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove it from the heat, and let it cool. Whisk in the buttermilk and passion fruit puree. Refrigerate the mixture until it is thoroughly chilled, about 3 hours. Process it in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place the sherbet in a plastic container, and freeze it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight. Garnish it with mango slices when you serve it.

Green Tea Ice Cream

8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup loose green tea
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar and salt. Set the mixture aside. In a heavy saucepan, scald the milk, and then remove it from the heat. Add the tea to the scalded milk, cover, and steep for 4 minutes. Strain the milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean pot, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. Add the heavy cream to the milk mixture, and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Ladle one-third of this mixture into the eggs, and whisk well to combine. Add the rest of the egg mixture to the pot, and cook it over low heat, stirring, until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container, and cool it in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream machine, and process it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a plastic container, and keep it in the freezer until you’re ready to serve it.

Recipes courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

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