Basil-Infused Custard with Lemon Chantilly Cream

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What could be more refreshing than two of the brightest flavors of summer brought together in the form of a custard? I wholeheartedly recommend that you use free-range organic eggs when you make this or any custard, as the yolks in these eggs are similar to the farm eggs I found in France. Farm eggs have deep orange yolks, giving custards both color and flavor.

Ingredients

  • cups whole milk
  • cups sugar
  • 40 fresh basil leaves (from about 4 sprigs), plus more leaves for garnish
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 large egg yolks

Lemon Chantilly Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Method

In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the milk, ½ cup of the sugar, and the 40 basil leaves. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cornstarch and the remaining 1 cup sugar. Stir with a whisk to blend. Add the egg and egg yolks and whisk vigorously until pale in color.

Strain the milk mixture into a bowl. Temper the eggs by gradually whisking the warm milk into the them. Return to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 15 minutes. Whisk for about 7 minutes, until smooth.

Remove from the heat and divide the custard among seven 6-ounce custard cups. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.

For the Chantilly cream: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream on high speed until it holds soft folds. Add the sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat until soft peaks are formed.

To serve

Top each custard with a dollop of lemon cream and garnish with a basil sprig.