Romeo asked, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”
The same can be said of ice cream flavors. If we didn’t call Cookies & Cream “Cookies & Cream,” would it still taste like Cookies & Cream? Ice cream is an arena where names seem to matter. We love a Jeni’s flavor called “Brambleberry Crisp” but would we love it as much if she had called it “Soggy Blackberry Mixture with Oats?” I don’t think so. Which is why, for this post, about ice cream made with the ripest, end-of-summer peaches, I’m sticking to the simple and direct: this is a post about Peach Ice Cream, plain and simple.
I’ve been waiting a week to make this ice cream. I bought the peaches a week ago — yellow peaches, some with red skin, some all yellow — but they were hard as a rock. I knew there’d be no point making peach ice cream if the peaches weren’t fragrant and juicy. So, with the patience of a saint, I waited and then the moment came. I chopped the peaches and mixed them with sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice, per the recipe in La Grotta Ices by Kitty Travers. (This is her favorite flavor in the whole book.) Then, again with the patience of a saint, I popped that into the fridge and let it macerate overnight.
I also made a simple ice cream base with milk, cream, sugar, salt, and egg yolks that also spent the night in the fridge.
When the big moment came, it was as simple as blending the two components together with a stick blender.
Then straining out the skins. I did it over a giant measuring glass to make it easier to pour into the ice cream maker (everyone should have a giant measuring glass in their lives). Be sure to press down with a spoon to extract all of the liquid.
Finally, it was a simple matter of pouring that into the frozen canister and letting the ice cream maker churn. A lot of people ask me what kind of ice cream maker I have; the answer is a simple Cuisinart with a canister that stays in the freezer until I’m ready to make ice cream.
This one churned up in about twenty minutes; Kitty Travers says to stop when it’s “the texture of whipped cream.” I transferred as much ice cream as I could to a soup container to place in the freezer, but then I went to town with a spoon, eating the bits that didn’t make it into the soup container. You know that cliché about eating a perfect summer peach over the sink with the juices dripping down your arms? Well try the non-clichéd version and eat peach ice cream straight out of the ice cream canister with the peach ice cream dripping down your arms. It’s heaven.
That night I served two scoops to Craig after dinner. Peaches are his favorite fruit and his face lit up as he tried this and he said it reminded him of a Dixie Cup with the freshest ingredients; almost like a Creamsicle. I took all of this as a compliment. Kitty Travers says this is “best consumed when it’s freshly made, or at least within a week, as the flavour is soon lost” which is basically a permission slip to finish the whole thing this weekend. That shouldn’t be a problem.
Peach Ice Cream
- 4 large ripe peaches (about 650 g) Be sure to let the peaches really ripen — they should be fragrant and soft — or it won’t be worth it.
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 210 g sugar You’ll need a kitchen scale for this recipe. Sorry! (Or you can cheat and let Google do the conversions.)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Pinch sea salt
- 4 egg yolks
Start by prepping the peaches. Rinse them, halve them, pit them, quarter them, then chop. Place in a large bowl with the lemon zest, lemon juice, and 50 grams of the sugar. Stir gently, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight.
Make the ice cream base by bringing the milk and cream, plus a pinch of salt, to a simmer, stirring now and then. Meanwhile, start whisking the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar. Temper the egg yolks by pouring some of the warm milk mixture in, whisking furiously, then slowly adding the rest (this prevents the eggs from scrambling).
Pour the mixture back into the pot and stir constantly, over low heat (I got impatient and put it on medium), with a heat-proof rubber spatula, until the temperature reaches 180 degrees F. Immediately pour into a soup container, let cool a bit, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, pour the custard over the peaches and use a stick blender to blitz for two minutes, until there are only small flecks of peach skin visible in the mix. Press the peach custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container (I used a large measuring cup), squeezing hard to extract as much smooth custard as possible. Discard the peach skin.
Pour the mixture into your ice cream machine and churn for about 20 to 25 minutes, until frozen and the texture of whipped cream.
Transfer whatever you can to a container and freeze and whatever’s left you should eat right away. It’ll be the highlight of your day.
Double Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (Amateur Gourmet)
Darkest Chocolate Sorbet (Amateur Gourmet)
This Blackberry Peach Crisp is Summer in a Pan (Amateur Gourmet)
La Grotta’s Mint Chip (Vogue)
Apricot Noyau Ice Cream (The Happy Foodie)