Lemon Balm Ice Cream

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I was all set to make some Peach Ice Cream for dessert tonight and then I opened the refrigerator to find that there was not a single peach left in sight. I had to think fast and improvise so I walked out to my herb garden and decided to give Lemon Balm a try!  Here goes nothing!

Prep Time: 3 ½ – 4 hours
3 Cups Heavy Cream
1 cup Whole Milk
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 Vanilla Beans, split lengthwise (I didn’t have any on hand so I substituted 1 ½ tsp. Vanilla Paste – worked like a champ!)
Large Bunch of Lemon Balm Leaves (approximately ½ cup), slightly mulled to release all of its aromatic flavor! The smell enough alone will hook you on this hardy perennial!
3 Large Eggs
½ tsp. Kosher Salt
Garnish with Fresh Lemon Balm Leaves

In a medium size saucepan, add cream, milk, sugar and vanilla extract. Stir to combine. Halve the vanilla beans with a sharp knife and then fold open and scrape out all of the beans into the milk mixture. Heat until just simmering and then turn off heat. Add eggs and salt to a glass bowl and beat until light yellow. To temper the eggs, ladle about a cup of the hot cream mixture into the eggs, beating constantly with a whisk. Add in an additional ladleful of the hot milk mixture and continue to beat. Add egg mixture back into saucepan and heat on low for an additional 5 minutes to allow eggs to cook and lemon balm to seep throughout. If you want completely smooth ice cream, you can pour mixture through a sieve into a large glass bowl. Otherwise, place glass bowl in refrigerator and chill for about 3 hours or until extremely cold. I often will place the mixture into the freezer for about a ½ hour before I am ready to start making the ice cream.
Make sure the bowl or canister of your ice cream maker is as cold as possible to achieve the best consistency. Keep it in your freezer at all times so it is ready to go at a moment’s notice. Place mixture into the bowl of the ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions.
Scoop into bowls, garnish with some Fresh Lemon Balm Leaves and enjoy immediately!

You will fall in love with the smell alone!  I think Lemon Balm sorbet is in our future!

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