I've tried twice. No, that's not right. Not twice, as in two attempts. No, I've tried two different recipes, with multiple attempts to spin them into wonderful ice cream. Alas, they remain bowls of sugary, basil-y milk.
(As of this writing, I've only tried to freeze my second recipe once. I'm holding out hope- a thin, muted, easily-broken hope, but a hope all the same- that maybe the canister wasn't frozen enough, and that on a second try it'll work).
My first recipe was a little more complicated than I usually like, but I figured you, my wonderful blog audience, was worth it.
I followed David Lebovitz's recipe, whereby the basil leaves are blended with sugar and milk, and then the whole mess is cooked up into a custard. Looking at the pictures (this all took place a few weeks ago), I must have added some lemon zest too.
This has happened to me before, but usually (as in the case of that link), I re-freeze it and it works out. In this case, I ended up spinning it three times, to no avail. So finally, I read about a technique for making ice cream without an ice cream maker, where you put the mixture in the freezer, and every 10 minutes or so, mix it up.
I have strong feelings on this, so let me be clear: it sucked. Sure, it froze, but it wasn't very good. It was similar to really bad, cheap ice cream.. grainy and full of ice crystals.
So for my second attempt, I went with a recipe I've made several times before- and once just a few days ago, with fresh mint:
Make Jeni's standard ice cream base (3 1/4 C milk, 2/3 C sugar, 2 TBL corn syrup, 1 1/3 TBL cornstarch). Then, pour it into the bowl to cool, and add the basil (or whatever herb you like). The basil steeps as the milk mixture cools. Then, wheneve you're ready, make it into ice cream.
*I took a picture, but I don't think it really makes clear how not-frozen it is.