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Strawberry Shortcake with Basil Ice Cream

In Basil, Butter, Buttermilk, Cookbooks, Cream, Dessert, Frozen Treats, Fruit, Ice Cream, Recipe, Strawberry
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Strawberry Shortcake-Blog 178
This is a recipe for all you Gleeks out there.

Huh?......you don't see the connection between this delightful confection and the runaway success that is GLEE?  

Let me explain.

You see, a few weeks back my wife and I took the girls, two SERIOUS Gleeks, to see the "Glee" cast concert in Boston.  Prior to the show we grabbed a bite at the Island Creek Oyster Bar in Kenmore square, the latest outpost in the Island Creek Oyster empire, which is headquartered just a town away from where we live.

It was my first visit to the ICOB and I was excited to be going, I'd heard such great things since their opening about a year ago.  I must say that I loved everything about the place, the space was terrific, the oysters (as you might imagine) outstanding, and the scallops I had as a main course were perfection.  We almost didn't get dessert for fear that we would run late to the concert, but when I saw a strawberry shortcake with basil ice cream on the dessert menu, my mind was made up, we would be missing the opening act.  I then began praying that there was an opening act, because if there wasn't one and we missed even a second of the Glee show, I would forever be dog-doo to the girls.

Now, I have been a strawberry shortcake junkie for years, and can still recall the once-a-year treat as a child when Mom would let us have shortcakes for DINNER when local strawberries were at their peak.  This was the ultimate dinner extravagance, blowing away breakfast for dinner by a long shot!  Over the years I have made strawberry shortcake just like my Mom always has, with freshly baked drop biscuits, strawberries macerated with a touch of sugar, and freshly whipped sweetened cream, so simple and yet so perfect.

The addition here of the basil ice cream and a more refined biscuit elevates this classic to the sublime.  This twist on strawberry shortcake was all I'd hoped it would be when I first discovered it on the menu.  I knew after taking just a bite that it was a dish I'd need to reconstruct at home and add to my rather ridiculously large (and still growing) dessert repertoire, and I immediately started making mental notes as to where I would hunt for recipes of the component parts of this lovely thing.

The concert turned out to be great fun as well, as the cast put on a terrific performance and we all had a blast.  The only challenge for me turned out to be the uncontrolled GLEEkiness of a few of the folks around us.  One girl, sitting just behind me on my right side, proved particularly annoying as she screeched throughout the entire performance making it difficult for anyone near her to actually hear the music.  She was so loud that I was sure she'd lose her voice at some point, but no, the little bugger kept it up to the end.....oh to be young again.  

What got me through?  When she was at her worst, screaming like someone was cutting her arm off, I closed my eyes, focused on what little of the music I could hear at that moment, and dreamed of making this dessert.  Food Saves!

Cheers - Steve


Strawberry Shortcake with Basil Ice Cream

(Print Friendly Recipe)



  • 2 quarts freshly picked strawberries, washed and stemmed
  • 1 quart basil ice cream (recipe below)
  • 8 buttermilk biscuits (recipe below)
  • 1 pint freshly whipped, sweetened cream


  1. Cut the strawberries into bite-sized chunks and toss into a bowl.  Check for sweetness, adding a touch of sugar, or a splash of simple syrup if they're a bit tart.  let them sit for a bit, covered, to release some juices.
  2. Whip the cream with a splash of vanilla extract and 1-2 tablespoons os sugar until thick, but still slightly soft and loose.
  3. Cut each slightly warm biscuit in half, top the bottom half with a generous helping of berries, spoon a bit of the whipped cream on top, then place a scoop of the basil ice cream on top of that.  Cover with the top of the biscuit (or lay it to the side), and spoon a little more berries and whipped cream on top.  Enjoy!


Basil Ice Cream

by: Claudia Fleming - 

The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern



  • 2 cups (about 2 ounces) packed fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup simple syrup **( see recipe below)
  • 12 egg yolks 
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  1. Fill a small bowl with ice water and set aside.
  2. To blanch the basil leaves, fill a small saucepan with water. Bring water to a boil. Blanch the basil leaves for 30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon, and plunge into an ice bath.
  3. Drain the leaves, lay them on a paper towel, then blot to remove excess water.
  4. In a blender, puree the basil with the Simple Syrup.
  5. Whisk egg yolks and ¼ cup sugar.
  6. Combine milk, cream, and remaining ¾ cup of sugar in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer.
  7. Remove saucepan from heat. Whisking the egg mixture constantly, add a little of the heated milk mixture to egg yolks to warm it. Then, whisking the milk mixture constantly, pour the egg yolk mixture into the milk mixture.
  8. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon. When it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon, remove from heat. Let cool completely.
  9. Stir in the basil puree.
  10. Strain, then stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
  11. Chill until thoroughly cold, about 4 hours.
  12. Freeze in an ice-cream maker to harden.

 **Simple Syrup

Yields 2½ cups

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

Over medium-high heat, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Stir until sugar dissolves, then stir for another minute.

Turn off heat and let cool.


Buttermilk Biscuits 

by: Brown Eyed Baker


  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • ¾ cup cold buttermilk


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Place the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Whisk together or process with six 1-second pulses.
  3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips to quickly cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps. If using a food processor, remove the cover and distribute the butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Cover and process with twelve 1-second pulses.
  4. If making by hand, stir in the buttermilk with a rubber spatula or fork until the mixture forms a soft, slightly sticky ball. If using a food processor, remove the cover and pour the buttermilk evenly over the dough. Process until the dough gathers into moist clumps, about eight 1-second pulses.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and quickly form into a rough ball. Be careful not to overmix. Pat the dough into a ¾-inch-thick circle. Cut out the dough rounds with a biscuit cutter. Push together the remaining pieces of dough, pat into a ¾-inch-thick, and cut out several more dough rounds. Discard the remaining scraps. Place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake until the biscuit tops are light brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately.


* Note 1: If you don’t have cake flour on hand, substitute an extra cup of all-purpose flour and increase the buttermilk by 2 tablespoons.

 * Note 2: Once the unbaked biscuits are placed on the cookie sheet, the sheet can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.


Yield: 12 (2-inch) biscuits




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"Oui, Chef" exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my kids a few things about cooking, and how their food choices over time effect not only their own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, passing on established familial food traditions, and starting some new ones. Read more...
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