don’t get me wrong, i enjoy traditional strawberry shortcake, especially at the peak of strawberry season. in the traditional version though, the strawberries are the only thing that really add a lot of flavor: the biscuits have a nice texture and the whipped cream adds creamy deliciousness, but neither of them really carry their weight in the flavor department (and the whipped cream totally fails at carrying its own weight when you factor in the nutrition profile!).
i wish i could tell you how i came up with the idea to pair strawberry shortcake with thai basil ice cream but i have no idea. all of a sudden the idea was just there. and i was transfixed. the first indication i was on the right track was when i found myself “testing” the ice cream recipe by dipping strawberry after strawberry into the “ice cream” base that refused to budge out of cold soup status… yum.
luckily i managed to get the ice cream to behave (as in, freeze into a non-lumpy solid, thankyouverymuch) and when i took my first bite of strawberry shortcake with thai basil ice cream, i knew this – THIS – was what i had been missing all of those summers when i was eating boring old traditional strawberry shortcake.
this one is creamy, summery, and just the right amount of sweet. the strawberries and thai basil ice cream combine in this amazingly taste relationship that is so much better than either of them individually. and that’s saying something, when you’re talking about delicious ice cream and perfect, height-of-strawberry-season berries. if you’re thinking this combination sounds weird, please know that it is probably the best thing you’ve never eaten.
if you don’t have an ice cream maker but still want to give this thai basil/strawberry combination a try, then a) you rock and b) you could infuse the heavy cream with thai basil as i describe in the ice cream recipe then strain the thai basil out. from there, beat the softened cream cheese with 1 T of sugar until the lumps disappear then add the cream and whip as usual. i always start with a small amount of sugar and then add more at the end, if i need to, so that i can adjust it to taste.
i was going to try this alternative myself buuuuut instead i sprayed thai basil-infused heavy cream ALL. OVER. THE. KITCHEN. after i spent an hour cleaning up what is essentially a lubricant (fat + liquid = 3 rounds of cleaning spray – woo!) from every surface within a 6 foot radius of where i had pressed the fateful “on” switch, i gave up since i was out of thai basil, heavy cream, and patience. but you should totally try it, if you don’t have an ice cream maker. just be sure to use a large bowl.