Roasted Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream with a Honey-Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream with Honey-Balsamic Reduction

Alright friends, bear with me, my brain is operating at far from full capacity today. I probably don’t even need to explain why, as it seems most of my northern hemisphere friends are experiencing similar heat waves at the moment. There is only one air-conditioning unit in the living room, which means I spend the majority of the day with papers flying around on my desk as a fan barely cools me down. But the work day is finally over, and I’ve migrated to the living room with my laptop and a cold drink, and I expect to be feeling a whole lot better shortly. (Especially after I’ve eaten my leftover half of a burrito from last night’s Mexican takeout that I’ve been thinking about all. day. And I will eat that thing stone freakin’ cold while I watch Jeopardy!, because that’s how I roll. TV. Zero effort. Don’t even make me look at a stove right now.)

Roasted Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream with Honey-Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream with Honey-Balsamic Reduction

OK, now that I’m already starting to feel a little better, let’s talk about this ice cream. When J and I were dating, strawberries were pretty absent from my life, due to his allergy. So when the berry season rolled around this year, I was really looking forward to making something that was 100%, full-on strawberry. And when I started talking to my friend Seth about attempting another late-season rhubarb pie party this year (one where the pie will hopefully make it to the party intact, which it did not last year), I thought that strawberry ice cream would be a perfect complement to the tart pie.


strawberry tops

So we’ll be having a pie + ice cream + Yahtzee (that’s right, Yahtzee!) party this weekend. And I am SO excited because my friend Nicole who I haven’t seen in years is coming to visit. AND I got invited to the pre-event press party for the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, so we’ll be attending that on Saturday! (They’re doing cheese and chocolate pairings and it’s catered by a local BBQ joint, you guys. And I get to take a million photos and not feel like a weirdo. It’s pretty much my dream!) I’m just hoping the weather is merciful on Sunday morning when I need to bake the pie…

Roasted Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream with Honey-Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream with Honey-Balsamic Reduction

I love the combination of strawberries and basil in this ice cream. The basil is subtle, adding just a hint of flavor to offset the sweetness of the berries. And the honey-balsamic reduction adds an awesome, welcome tang. The balsamic reduction was actually meant to be a “swirl,” and not completely mixed into the ice cream. But apparently my technique needs a lot of practice. I decided to read about creating swirls after the fact (because reading about how to do something after I screw it up is also how I roll), so I’ve detailed that technique below. You can always just mix it right in evenly if you want, but I highly recommend trying the swirl if you can. The ice cream was the most beautiful shade of pink pre-balsamic (and it tasted 100% like girly childhood), and it would be really nice to preserve that with some rich swirls running through it instead. I realize strawberry season is coming to a close (at least here in the Northeast), but I highly recommend you snag some of the last berries to make this, so you can savor them throughout the rest of the summer! (Or just eat it all in a day, which is definitely what we’re doing on Sunday.)

Roasted Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream with Honey-Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream with a Honey-Balsamic Reduction

(adapted from The Perfect Scoop)

1 quart of fresh strawberries

half a dozen-ish basil leaves

1 cup of whole milk

2/3 cup of sugar + 2 tbsp, separated

2 cups of heavy cream, divided

6 large egg yolks

1 vanilla bean

zest of 1 small lemon

pinch of salt

honey-balsamic reduction (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 375°. Clean and whole strawberries, then cut in half. Toss with the 2 tbsp of sugar, then arrange on a baking sheet. Roast for around 25 minutes, or until the berries have released a good amount of their juices. Remove from the oven and let cool, then puree in a food processor or blender. (Or you can just mash them if you don’t mind larger strawberry bits in your ice cream.)

Combine the whole milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan and heat until warm, then remove from heat. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds into the milk mixture, and add the pod as well. Bruise the basil leaves and add them too, along with the lemon zest. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a large bowl and set a strainer on top. Prepare an ice bath big enough to hold the large bowl. Strain out basil, lemon zest, and the vanilla pod, then rewarm the milk mixture and beat together the 6 egg yolks in a separate bowl. Once the milk mixture is warm, temper the eggs by slowly whisking it into the eggs a little at a time. Once you’ve incorporated the two, pour everything back into the saucepan.

Stir constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer into the large bowl of heavy cream, and add the strawberry puree. Transfer bowl to the ice bath and stir until cool.

Chill the custard in the fridge overnight, then process in your ice cream maker as per the manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is finished churning, add a layer to the bottom of a large tin. Add a drizzle of the honey-balsamic reduction, then lightly swirl in with a chopstick or knife. Add another layer if ice cream and repeat. Continue until all the ice cream is in the tin.

Honey-Balsamic Reduction

1 1/4 cups of balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp of honey (I highly recommend using a raw honey — the flavor is so much better)

Add the balsamic to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until it has reduced by about 2/3. Remove from heat and stir in honey. Let cool completely (ideally to fridge temp) before using.

Roasted Strawberry & Basil Ice Cream with Honey-Balsamic Reduction


  1. says

    Oh man. I am not able to go to the Saturday party at the intervale because I will be in the NEK for the night. That would be so fun to meet you there. I will be at the cheese fest on Sun though. (Camera in hand!) Are you going to that? I think this recipe looks awesome. I love the addition of basil and balsamic. How unexpected for an ice-cream. And as always I love your photos. Sigh. Totally gorge. And the way you roll for that matter;)

    • says

      Noooo, I was so hoping you were going to be there on Saturday!! I can’t make it to the cheese fest on Sunday, unfortunately. :( I was planning to take Nicole out to Bohemian Bakery on Sunday so she can OD on pastries and VT charm, but I’m going to have to see how that works out between the pie prep and the party. We shall meet soon, though! :)

  2. says

    alas, strawberry season is over for us, blueberries on their way out as well but we have peaches and tomatoes finally coming in.

    i hate to admit it, but with this heat that we’re experiencing, i’m kinda sorta very much looking fwd to autumn. GASP! this heat is making me lethargic and not so inclined to cook much of anything… so far our meals have been leftover pie and ice cream… that last sentence is not a complaint.

    • says

      Noooo, yeah, I knew I was cutting it close with this recipe. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be all blueberries here at the next market.

      And I am SO looking forward to autumn too. I hardly want to do anything, and I can barely think. Very ready for September!

  3. says

    Mm, sounds incredible right now! We only have a window AC unit in our bedroom, which makes it possible to sleep at night but that’s about it. I haven’t cooked anything in days!

    When I first met my husband, he told me he made good homemade ice cream (which is totally why we’re together now – he had me at ice cream!) and the first batch he made for me was strawberry with a hint of balsamic. So. Good! I can only imagine with a bit of honey and basil. Yum!

    • says

      A sure sign that a man is a keeper! :)

      Having my fan positioned in my window 6 inches from my face keeps me pretty cool at night, but I definitely wouldn’t mind if it was an air conditioner instead. Maybe I’ll start sleeping in the living room!

  4. Corrine Ann says

    Making homemade ice cream is on my list of seriously overdue things to try. Gotta beat this VT heat somehow!

    • says

      Oh man, once you start, it becomes an obsession! :) And this summer has been so gross, I can’t even deal. First it’s rain rain rain, and then it’s hot and humid as heck, then back and forth again. Ugh.

  5. says

    You know, I have tried time and time again to master the swirl and I’ve concluded I suck at it, so I feel you. I do wonder though, after you’ve churned your ice cream and are depositing it into a container to put in the fridge, is it REALLY melty? Like, melt-upon-contact melty? Because that’s how my ice cream always turns out, even if it’s been churning away way past the recommended time. It’s really frustrating because as I’m frantically trying to scoop all the ice cream into the container, I can literally see it puddling back into its original custard form. Then things start getting really messy because I try to scoop faster and the ice cream’s dripping everywhere… it’s a race against time and I never win. :

    But anyway, wow, I love your shade of ice cream! It’s basically the elusive color that I’ve been searching high and low for in bed linens, kind of a pale dusty pink, SUPER pretty! Color aside, I’m only a recent convert to strawberry ice cream (had it fresh recently and it was SO good), but I really want to try it with balsamic vinegar! I also love the addition of basil because it’s the epitome of summer and ice cream and all that good stuff! Can you believe it’s already mid-July?

    • says

      Thanks, Linda! I do like the color it turned out too, although I was SO hoping for an awesome swirly thing. I’m going to have to try out the technique I described above the next time. And I totally cannot believe it’s going to be August soon (though I’m kind of ready for September at this point!).

      Do you use a KitchenAid attachment for your ice cream, or is it a different machine? Actually, I guess they’re all kind of the same concept, with a freezer bowl and some churning that happens somehow. But with my KitchenAid bowl, I’ve actually noticed that if I let it churn for too long, the ice cream will get melty again. (I think this is because the bowl has warmed up to the point of being no use anymore.) I used to wait to hear the gear slipping, but now I just keep an eye on it and when it looks pretty ice cream-y, I stop it. When I finish a batch, it’s usually pretty soft, but not that melty. Almost just a little bit softer than what would be considered perfect for ice cream. So maybe less churning time would help?

      • says

        I’ve got one of those standalone Cuisinart ice cream makers, and I always blame the inferior quality of my ice cream on it, haha. You bring up a good point though – I bet I have reached the point where the freezer bowl has started warming up. I’ll stick to the half hour churn time next time.

        And you’ll get your swirl soon enough with the blueberry ice cream!

        • says

          Ah! Yeah, I bet those are kind of tough because you can’t see the actual bowl. (Once my bowl starts to develop a lot of condensation, I know it’s probably lost its freezing powers.)

          I can’t wait to actually try that swirl technique! I need to perfect it this summer. :)

  6. Scot says

    I’m still making your roasted strawberry/rhubarb w/basil ice cream. Sometimes I use chocolate mint instead of basil. Its grown right here in Colorado Springs! Have some in the freezer right now. I’ve put away my little Kitchen Aide maching and switched to the LARGE 5 quart machine. I buy Chineese take out boxes and share it w/ my neighbors. I also make a very strong, kick ass Italian Roast Espresso Ice cream w/ a ribbon of chocolate ganache & Baileys Irish Cream.

    • says

      Hi Scot!! I am so glad to hear you’re still making and enjoying the strawberry + rhubarb + basil ice cream. It is one of my favorites. :) And chocolate mint sounds like an awesome substitute too! And whoa, espresso ice cream with ganache + Baileys swirl……I want that. (I love love love Baileys in ice cream. The first ice cream I ever made was a Baileys ice cream, and I couldn’t believe how good it was.) Also, you’ve now got me googling 5 quart ice cream machines (because seriously, 1 quart just isn’t enough sometimes!).

  7. says

    OMG, this sounds so good!!! I had an epic fail(ure) trying to make a roasted strawberry-rhubarb-balsamic frozen yogurt recently, so I can’t wait to give this recipe a try! Many congrats on the photo gig at the cheese and chocolate festival – that sounds like HEAVEN! (And so does a late-season rhubarb pie party!!!)

    • says

      Thanks, Alanna! I am so excited for the cheese festival party! I just hope this heat lets up a little bit for the weekend, because this weather has been seriously zapping my energy. Even so, if I can’t get energized for a cheese + chocolate + photo party, then there must be something wrong me with. :)

      I am so excited for my late-season rhubarb pie party! I bought what was probably the last of the rhubarb about a week ago, and it seems to be holding up fine in my fridge so far. I know one vendor at our market who also sells his fall crop of rhubarb, which blew my mind last year. (I had no idea rhubarb could do a second crop thing.) I plan to buy lots of it and make lots of shrubs to last me through the winter!

  8. says

    ahaha oh my lordy, I did the EXACT same thing with ice cream when I was making a swirly one the other day. I was just like ah nah, it’s fine how hard can it be, you just swirl it in right? WRONG. I ended up just mixing it all in. Oh well. Live + learn or whatever.

    But ooh yum basil + lemon zest + strawberries + balsamic! that is like a summer salad in a ice creamy dessert form! Sounds like perfection to me :)

    I always feel SO self conscious when I’m out if I just whip out my DSLR and start taking photos. Especially because it’s so big so EVERYONE sees me and it’s super loud too when it focuses and takes the photo. Seriously could it attract any more attention!? Anywho, that’s awesome! GO CAREY :)

    • says

      Hahaha, right? The MKII is pretty massive, and it makes some serious sounds. If I’m in the right mindset though, I have sooooo much fun with event photography. I guess the more practice I get, the less weird I’ll feel. :P

      Ugh, THE SWIRL. Who would have thought it would be so difficult? I’m looking forward to trying that method I put in the recipe on the next batch of something, and it had better work!

  9. says

    You are going to have SO MUCH FUN!!!! I bet Cabot is going to be there, we met them at King Arthur Flour and their cheese is sooooooo tasty. There will be so much cheese for you to enjoy! Does Vermont mainly make cheddar or are there other cheese-types made up there? And I feel equally self-concious about the whole public-picture-taking thing. I think that I just get annoyed that people stare at the camera when they’re in frame, or that they think I am taking a picture of them (when it’s actually the cool antique bike you just walked and plopped yourself in front of), so it just gets super awkward. I much prefer taking pictures of food and scenery in more remote locations where I don’t have to have that awkward “No, it’s not you, it’s the bicycle. But I will wait it out, no you don’t have to step to the side and watch me take a picture…because now I just feel really uncomfortable being watched and stuff. AUGHHHHH.” And then I shuffle away in shame.

    And I’ve actually never tried making a swirl for that exact reason, I could never figure out how to do it haha. I am going to give that technique a try, though. Now I just have to think of an ice cream to make and something to swirl into it….Or I could just make this friggin’ awesome recipe with the box of strawberries I just remembered are sitting in my fridge :D

    • says

      It was so much fun! Lots of good cheese and good people to talk to. I got to meet a few people from the VT Butter & Cheese Creamery and chat for a bit. So psyched I got to go. :)

      I really think that swirl technique sounds promising, right?? I can’t wait to give it a try on my next batch of ice cream. There are two swirly possibilities at odds in my brain right now. I hope I can do both!

  10. says

    Oh man – this sounds SO refreshing right now. We are also experiencing the heatwave way over here in the Midwest. I’m very impressed that you are not going to accidently devour this before your party (I’ve been eating every little bit of ice cream / popsicles in sight the last few days). That is some serious self-control you have over there!

    • says

      Thanks, Shelly! It was tough keeping my hands off this stuff until Sunday, for sure. (It was soooo good with the rhubarb pie though, so I’m glad I held out!) :)

    • says

      Thank you, Shruti! I’m kind of glad to hear that so many other people have had trouble with the swirl technique, so I know it isn’t just me. It’s tough to get right! :)

  11. says

    Hi Carey, I just stumbled on your beautiful blog, so many interesting recipes and gorgeous photos!

    We’re suffering from massive heat in The Netherlands too, but here it’s either heat or rain all summer long (and we had many of those), so I choose heat all the way.

    • says

      Hi Gintare! So glad you found my blog. :) We’ve been having the either heat or rain summer too, and it is rather annoying. The heat broke with a rainstorm on Friday, and now it has gotten quite chilly. I’m sure it will warm up again soon enough!

  12. Angel says

    The ice cream sounds refreshing!!
    I don’t have ice cream machine, could this work just freeze in the fridge?

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