By Anna Thomas
The perfect summer dessert: a sweet chill with a peppery spike of herbal excitement . . . The basil is subtle but important, and the peaches must be the ripe golden beauties of July or August.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 oz.) packed sliced or chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more to taste
sea salt or kosher salt
2 1/2 lbs. ripe yellow peaches, peeled and cut up (about 4 cups)
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
Combine the sugar and 1 cup water in a small stainless steel pot and heat it gently, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the basil and a pinch of salt and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool completely. Strain the syrup and reserve the basil. You should have 1 1/4 cups syrup.
Put the peaches in a blender, add the cooled syrup and the lemon juice, and puree. Add about 1 teaspoon of the reserved basil and pulse a few times, just until the basil makes green flecks in the peach puree. For a more pronounced basil flavor, add a teaspoon or so of finely chopped raw basil.
Chill the mixture well, then freeze it in an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the sorbet to a chilled container, cover tightly, and put it in the freezer for about 2 hours to firm up.