Strawberries, Basil, Ice Cream with a Roasted Cracker Crumble?
Berries are a good way to celebrate summer. Ice Cream always says summer. Add summertime Basil and you can make yourself a yummy summertime dessert that encompasses all three flavors plus a surprise crumble on top. I mean, seriously, how can you resist this?
I love summer but my body does not react well to the heat. So, because of that, I’ve spent the last month in Lake Tahoe. In the the last couple of weeks, or so, we’ve had some visitors, so my blogging has been a little sparse. We’ve had friends from Southern California visit us for a few days (my best friend); I had a good friend from Sacramento visit for a few days; we had some friends visit us for dinner one night who are from Las Vegas,
and my daughter and son-in-law returned from their month-long honeymoon in Italy.
Oh! I almost forgot about the bear that came to our bedroom window two nights in a row and tried to come in.
I later found out that Yes!Chef! had left some foil outside that he used to catch the drippings of a chicken he made. I found it on the ground with some claw marks. The barbecue is located next to the window he tried to get in.
I also visited a part of Lake Tahoe that I had not been to since I was very young. Anyone who knows about it knows how beautiful it is. It’s a place called D.L. Bliss State Park and it is located north of Emerald Bay. I was only there briefly to show my friend, but I will be going back with Yes!Chef! before the summer is over.
And then, of course, there are my daily adventures and walks with Obie. He and I always find all kinds of interesting things that don’t have anything to do with cooking or taking pictures of food.
Then I was distracted by the moon. (Isn’t everyone?) It was hot here in Tahoe for a couple of days (nobody has air conditioning up here), and so in the evening we sat outside on the front deck saying, “Hey!” to the neighbors and drinking a great white wine. We watched the moon rise and so another day or two went by that I did not blog.
So, after all that adventure, I wanted to make an easy, tasty, unusual dessert. I found a really interesting recipe here, Salty Sweet Strawberry Crisp with Lazy Basil Ice Cream.
I loved the flavor combinations, but it just seem too hot to make something in the oven in the middle of summer.
So, I talked it over with Yes!Chef! over a martini while we were cooling off outside. I love the flavor combinations of strawberries, vanilla ice cream and basil, so I came up with something very similar to the above recipe. Good news is that it is “no cook” except for roasting the crackers and toasting the nuts. But you could certainly do that part in the morning and then it won’t heat up your house.
Start off with some great strawberries, slice them for a prettier presentation, or dice them for easier spooning. But make sure that they are nice and fresh and juicy. The above berries were pretty sweet so they didn’t require much sugar.
Let the berries sit out on the counter for an hour or so after you’ve sprinkled the sugar over them and mixed in the chopped basil. (Bonus: they smell great!)
Here’s the recipe I came up with. It’s full of strawberry flavor mixed with basil. A good Vanilla Bean ice cream rests on top of the berries, melting into the berry mixture. Or, use a great gelato like Sea Salt Caramel. Sprinkle roasted, butter crackers crumbled with chopped almonds and a little brown sugar on top and…Voila. Easy as pie (I don’t why people say that pie is easy. In my mind, it’s not. But this recipe is easy.)
Basil Strawberries, topped with vanilla ice cream and a roasted butter cracker brown sugar crumble.
- 2 cups sliced ripe strawberries
- 1-2 Tbsp. sugar (depending upon how sweet the berries are, add a little more to suit your taste.)
- 4 fresh basil leaves, julienned or Chiffonade (Here’s a short How-to from The Pioneer woman: How to Chiffonade Basil )
- 12-15 butter Crackers (Like Townhouse)
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/4 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped (Here’s a how-to on toasting nuts)
- 1/2-1 tsp. salt (or to taste…you want a slight salty flavor)
- Vanilla Bean Ice Cream or Salted Caramel Gelato or some other ice cream that goes good with berries
- Mix berries, sugar and julienned basil leaves in a non-metallic bowl. Leave on the countertop for about an hour or refrigerate if you won’t be making it in that time-frame.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment and place crackers in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully so that they are not over-roasted. You want them to turn a nice shade of brown (see picture below) but not black.
- When roasted, let cool, then crumble into a bowl. Mix in brown sugar, chopped almonds and salt. Set aside.
- After the berries have set for an hour, taste for sweetness. Add more sugar if necessary…but don’t make it too sweet. That’s the ice cream’s job.
- Set ice cream our to soften a bit.
- Place berries in the bottom of a small bowl, ramekin or glass (see my picture).
- Scoop a generous scoop of ice cream and place on top of the strawberries.
- Sprinkle with the cracker crumble.
- Smile and enjoy the accolades.
Here’s a comparison of the crackers, roasted and unroasted, side-by-side, so you can see the difference.
The dessert is as easy as 1,2,3
I tried both vanilla bean ice cream and a wonderful Gelato from Talenti called Sea Salt Caramel. Whoa! It is really good and has the added benefit of little pieces of caramel filled chocolate.
This has pretty much everything going for it that you could want in a dessert AND it’s easy. The strawberries paired with basil alone is a great, fresh way to eat berries. It is a wonderful pairing. But add the ice cream or gelato and a roasty, crunchy, sweet and salty topping and you have it all.
Try it and Enjoy!