Purple Basil Syrup on Crepes
I've been trying to add more purple flowers and foliage to my garden this year, so when I saw a packet of seeds for this purple basil, I couldn't resist. It has since grown very well for me, and now that I have it, I've been scratching my head trying to figure out what to use it for. Of course, it's pretty just to look at, but I wanted to see how it tastes.
Purple basil is said to be too strong for pesto, so I hunted around the Web and found here a recipe for basil syrup over fruit. Basil syrup was something I'd never tried before, and it sounded to me like it would make a delicious accompaniment to crepes. (Really, I think I just wanted an excuse to eat crepes.)
So I chopped up the leaves, which gave me about a half cup of basil. I added that to 1 and 1/2 cups of water with 3 tablespoons of sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice. I threw in a few leaves of lemon basil, too, and let it simmer.
I ended up letting it cook for about 30 minutes, instead of the recommended 10. I also added more sugar and cooked it down to about half the quantity the recipe said it should make, but for some reason, it never turned into syrup for me; it remained kind of watery. After straining the leaves, it looked like this.
So it was watery, but, nonetheless, it tasted very good and had a gorgeous color. The flavor tasted mildly like basil with a blend of spices -- almost as if it had cloves in it. It was a very good topping for crepes.
After dinner, Michael tried cooking the mixture some more to get it to its true syrupy state. More sugar... more cooking... boiling... and evenually... we got syrup!
He made me another one of his delicious grilled peach desserts and the syrup was perfect on it. (I know, he spoils me, doesn't he?)
This recipe is definitely one that I will keep, although I'll plan for a longer cooking time. I'd like to try it with even more basil, and a mix of different varieties. I'm thinking... Thai basil syrup over mangoes perhaps? Or lemon basil over berries? We even thought it would be interesting to try making basil candy.