Friday, July 23, 2010

Country Peach Ice Cream

Country Peach Ice Cream

Recently Ben and I decided to explore a farmer’s market in our area.  I have been wanting to go for ages, but this particular market is on Friday evenings and up until now, I have almost always had something else planned.  We finally went and much to my disappointment, it was a major bust.  There were literally only two stands!!!  There were several more set up but they were vacant – maybe they normally have a better turnout?  Even though it was disappointing in that regard, I did get some wonderful produce.  I bought blueberries, corn on the cob, and these gorgeous peaches.  All of them were much better than anything I could find in the grocery store.  I decided the peaches would be perfect for my next ice cream endeavor, and they really were!  Ben and I both agreed that this is much better than any store-bought peach ice cream we have had.
The ice cream itself has a very mild peach flavor.  Most of the ”peachiness” of this ice cream is in the actual fruit chunks.  You could easily increase the peach flavor by adding the juices from the reserved peaches to the custard mixture before churning.  However, I thought this mild peach flavor was perfect – just like peaches and cream. 
Country Peach Ice Cream
4 large, ripe peaches, peeled, halved, pitted and chopped into small chunks
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ cup sugar, plus 2 tbsp.
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Put half of the peaches in a bowl and mash slightly with a fork.  Sprinkle with the lemon juice and the 2 tablespoons sugar and toss to combine.  Cover and refrigerate.

In a heavy 2-qt. saucepan, combine the milk, 1 cup of the cream, and the remaining peaches.  Cook over medium heat until slightly thickened, 4-5 minutes.  Do not let boil.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing on the peaches with the back of a spoon.  Discard the solids.

Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, ½ cup sugar, salt, and remaining ½ cup cream in a bowl.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth and the sugar begins to dissolve.

Gradually whisk about ½ cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture until smooth.  Pour the egg and milk mixtures into the saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and keeping the custard at a low simmer, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 4-6 minutes.  Do not let the custard boil.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.  Add the vanilla and stir to combine. 

Place the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice cubes and water.  Stir occasionally until cool.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  When the ice cream is frozen to the consistency of soft serve, transfer to an air-tight container and fold in the reserved peaches. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 3 days before serving.
Source: adapted from Williams Sonoma Ice Cream by Mary Goodbody, Free Press, 2003.

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