1.3lb21 oz/600 g fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/4cup60 ml granulated sugar
1/4cup60 ml water
1/4cup60 ml fresh Genovese (sweet) basil leaves (about 16 large leaves), minced
1tbsp15 ml lemon juice
For the White Chocolate Gelato Base: Measure out the milk, then scoop out 2 tbsp (30 ml) and place in a small bowl. Set aside.
Pour the remaining milk in a medium saucepan, then add the heavy cream, white chocolate, and sugar. Set over medium heat and whisk constantly until the white chocolate and sugar are fully melted and incorporated. Remove from the heat temporarily.
Whisk the cornstarch into the reserved milk. Pour into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Return the mixture over medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes. (The mixture will thicken slightly.)
Pour the custard into a bowl and gently place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the custard to prevent a film from forming. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. The gelato base must be thoroughly cool before churning: this will produce the smoothest, silkiest texture.
For the Strawberry and Basil Puree: In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar, and water, and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the strawberries are soft and broken down and the juices are thick. Remove from the heat, then puree using a stand blender, a hand blender, or a food processor. Stir in the basil and lemon juice, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until completely cool.
To make the gelato: Strain the strawberry puree and discard the basil leaves. Measure out 2 cups (500 ml) of strawberry and basil puree to use in the gelato. (Save the remaining puree, if any, to spoon over the churned gelato as a coulis, or add to a smoothie.)
Whisk the strawberry and basil puree into the prepared White Chocolate Gelato Base. Strain again to make sure the gelato is silky smooth. Pour the white chocolate, strawberry and basil gelato custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Stop the machine when the gelato is thick and icy but still easily spoonable.
Transfer the White Chocolate, Strawberry, and Basil Gelato to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about two hours. The gelato will keep, frozen, for up to two weeks.
Always take this White Chocolate, Strawberry, and Basil Gelato out to room temperature 15 to 20 before serving to soften it and make it easier to scoop.
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