Recipe | Pink Grapefruit & Basil Ice Cream

Award-winning cookery writer Diana Henry’s new book, How to Eat a Peach, is an evocative collection of seasonal menus inspired by memories, places or moods. We think her grapefruit and basil ice-cream is perfect for a (fingers crossed!) sunny Bank Holiday weekend.

This is possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever made. The colour will vary depending on the juice of your grapefruit, sometimes it is very pale pink, sometimes almost coral-coloured. Remove the ice cream from the freezer about 10 minutes before you want to serve it, to allow it to soften.

Serves 6

  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 pink grapefruit
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 300ml (½ pint) whole milk
  • 35 basil leaves
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 150ml whipping cream
  • 1–2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Put the grapefruit zest and granulated sugar into a mortar and pound with the pestle. Heat the milk with the pounded zest mixture until it reaches boiling point. Remove from the heat and tear in the basil leaves roughly. Cover and set aside to infuse for a couple of hours.
  2. Using electric beaters, beat the egg yolks with the caster sugar until pale and thick. Strain the flavoured milk into a jug, using the back of a spoon to press out all the flavour from the basil and the grapefruit zest. Stir this into the egg mixture and put it into a clean, heavybased pan. Over a low heat, stirring all the time, heat the custard until it thickens slightly. It needs to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (you should be able to run your finger through it and leave a channel). Be really careful, as the eggs will scramble if it gets too hot. Immediately pour it into a cool bowl (I set the bowl in a sink full of water and ice cubes, to help stop the cooking immediately). Leave the custard to get to room temperature, stirring from time to time as it cools.
  3. Whip the cream until it holds its shape, being careful not to take it too far. Fold into the custard, then stir in the grapefruit juice and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Taste before adding any more lemon juice: it should enhance the grapefruit flavour, not overwhelm it.
  4. Churn in an ice-cream machine, or transfer to a shallow container and put in the freezer. If you’re using the manual method, take the ice cream out and churn it – either using electric beaters or by putting the mixture in a food processor – 3 times during the freezing process. Do this first after about 1 hour, when the mixture is setting round the edges, then at 2-hour intervals. Cover with a lid, or with cling film or greaseproof paper, between each churning, and when you store it.
  5. Serve with plain biscuits, or on its own. It doesn’t need anything else.



How To Eat a Peach by Diana Henry is published by Mitchell Beazley, £25. Images by Laura Edwards


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