Strawberry-Toasted Fennel and Basil Ice Cream

July was National Ice Cream Month! It’s no surprise especially it being the hottest month in most parts of the country! All I can think of then was cold water, cold drinks, cocktails, ice creams, popsicles, cold salads, and the list goes on! I have been on an ice cream making spree, cause my brain is going crazy thinking of so many flavors, especially with summer fruits in full swing, and herbs growing in abundance too!


I have been following Gayatri from The Dessert Project for a while on Instagram! Her feed is absolutely clean and modern, she loves desserts as much as I do, and she makes delectable and beautiful ice creams, pies, cakes and lots more! Do check our her blog and feed and show her some love! She has the cutest and most gorgeous golden retrievers!



So Gayatri and I decided to collaborate on an ice cream challenge! Where we both challenge each other with an ingredient and we reveal the flavors of the ice cream in a few weeks via Instagram and a Blog post for the recipe! How exciting is that right? and that too, we live on the opposite ends of this world! Talk about bringing the world closer together! 🙂 She lives in New Delhi and I live in California. I wish we could have an ice cream session as well to taste each others ice cream!




So Gayatri gave me Basil, which is one of my favorite herbs.  It simply screams summer, fresh, vibrant and slight savory flavor!  Since strawberries are in full swing, super sweet and crunchy right now, I decided to make a Strawberry-Toasted Fennel and Basil Ice Cream! I love love the liquorish taste of toasted fennel. Being an Indian, fennel is ingrained in our blood if I may say so! 🙂 We start eating fennel since we are little kids, after every meal, or just like that cause it tastes sweet and liquorish! Toasting fennel brings out the crunchiness and enhances the flavor to a whole new level!




I made a compote with strawberries, ground toasted fennel and basil by heating them all in a pan with organic cane sugar and lemon juice. Let it cool in the fridge and make the ice cream base the same day. Make the ice cream the next day with the ice cream base in the ice cream maker per manufacturer’s instructions, and add 3/4 of the compote 5 minutes before stopping the churning process.  I like the swirl in the remaining compote into the ice cream for best taste and flavor. This ice cream is so bright and delicious! I had to drizzle some chocolate on the top because strawberries and chocolate are a match made in heaven! 🙂





I hope you get a chance to make this ice cream because it is so damn delicious! If you do get to try, please tag me #thejamlab on instagram and/or leave me a comment on the blog, to let me know how you like it!




Hope you all are enjoying your summer, wherever you are and taking in all the sunshine! I have been swimming in summer produce and in my happy place with it :).




Strawberry, Toasted Fennel and Basil Ice Cream


  • Ice Cream Base:
  • •1 ½ cups whole milk
  • •1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • •3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • •2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • •4 large egg yolks
  • Strawberry-Roasted Fennel and Basil Compote:
  • 2 pounds strawberries
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2-3 oz lemon juice
  • 15-20 basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground into a powder


  1. Strawberry-Roasted Fennel and Basil Compote:
  2. (TIP: Make the compote and the ice cream base on the same day).
  3. Wash and hull the strawberries(hull meaning remove the tops). Cut then into quarters.
  4. In a small saucepan, at medium heat, toast the fennel seeds for 3-4 minutes, stirring them occasionally so as not to burn them. You will get a liquorish fragrance as it is toasting. Once cool, coarsely grind them in a coffee grinder.
  5. In a medium bowl, add the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, basil leaves, and roasted fennel seeds powder. Mix to incorporate. Let it sit for an hour.
  6. In a medium saucepan, add in the mixture, stir it to mix any sugar that is still there, at high heat, let it start boiling. It will start foaming as well, do not mix it. Let it boil for about 10-15 minutes. At this point, reduce the temperature to medium heat. Remove the foam into a small bowl and discard. Stir the remaining mixture for about 10 more minutes. It will be jammy. Switch off the stove. Let it cool. Once cool, remove the basil leaves. Store it in an air tight glass container in the fridge to let it cool and thicken slightly.
  7. Ice cream:
  8. Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated
  9. Set a strainer over a medium bowl set in a larger bowl containing ice and 2 cups water. Heat the milk, cream, 1/2 cup sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, , until steam appears and the milk is warm (about 175 degrees), about 5 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl until combined and pale yellow, whisk it vigorously. Whisk half the warm milk mixture into the beaten yolks, 1/2 cup at a time, until combined.
  11. Whisk the milk-yolk mixture into the warm milk in the saucepan; set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until steam appears, foam subsides, and the mixture is slightly thickened or an instant-read thermometer registers 180 to 185 degrees. (Do not boil the mixture, or the eggs will curdle.)
  12. Immediately strain the custard into the bowl set in the ice bath; cool the custard to room temperature, stirring it occasionally to help it cool. Once cooled, add in the vanilla extract and stir. Cover and refrigerate for atleast 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
  13. Now mix about 2 cups of the strawberry compote into the custard and mix well.
  14. Once, the custard is ready, pour the custard into the ice cream machine and churn, following the manufacturer’s instructions, until the mixture resembles soft-serve ice cream for 25 minutes. Transfer 1/3 of the ice cream to an airtight container, swirl about ¼ cup of the compote into the ice cream. Repeat the process two more times. Cover the container with an aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and let it set in the deep freezer for 2-3 hours.
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