Saturday, July 17, 2010

Honey-Peach Ice Cream

Happy National Peach Ice Cream Day!

The heat wave here in NYC continues. We've broken all previous high temperature records by about a million degrees...which makes sense, considering a million degrees is pretty much how hot it feels outside.

And if it's a million degrees outside, it's a million and ten degrees inside our tiny apartment. We'd all have melted into big ooey-gooey piles of sweat and nastiness by now (talk about a messy kitchen!) if it wasn't for one thing:

Ice cream.

Well, okay, modern AC technology has considerably helped, too, but I choose to focus on the tastier of the two appliances running to our rescue: our mighty and marvelous ice cream maker.

So far this summer we've made chocolate ice cream (one of mine and Katie's favorites), vanilla ice cream (the Music Man's favorite), and cheesecake ice cream (quite possibly my new favorite). But when Katie found a recipe for honey-peach ice cream, we knew that our charming-chugging-churning-machine wasn't going back in the cupboard anytime soon. What says 'summer' more than ripe, juicy, flavorful peaches? Nothing, that's what.

The combo of peaches and honey in this recipe reminds Katie of the honey sticks we used to devour each summer at the local farmer's market. Me - I just love peaches. I've been known to eat the canned variety right out of the, um, can. What can I say - they're just frickin' good.

But this ice cream is WAY better. Enjoy.


Honey-Peach Ice Cream
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours” via Ezra Pound Cake
Makes about 1 quart
  • For the best flavor, and to make sure you don’t have little icy peach pieces, let this ice cream sit at room temperature before serving, or warm it in a microwave using 5-second bursts of heat.
  • You can replace the peaches with nectarines, which won’t need peeling, or apricots, which can be peeled with a serrated vegetable peeler.

4 large ripe peaches (or about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup honey
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

STEP ONE: Peel & pit the peaches (say that ten times fast).

1. Fill a large pot with enough water to submerge your peaches. Bring water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside. Using a paring knife, lightly score the bottom of each peach with an X.

2. When water is boiling, gently add peaches to boiling water and boil for 45 seconds. Transfer peaches to ice water for 30 seconds.

3. Remove peach skin with your fingers or a paring knife. It may be helpful to do this under cold running water (like you do with hardboiled eggs).

4. Cut along the seam of each peeled peach to the pit, running your knife all the way around the fruit. Twist each half in opposite directions to free one half from the pit, or simply pull the two sides apart. Remove the pit with your fingers or the knife.

STEP TWO: Prepare peach puree (bonus points for adding that to the first tongue twister).

5. Coarsely chop half the peaches into 1/2-inch chunks, and toss them into a small saucepan. Add honey, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peaches are soft but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Puree the mixture using a blender, food processor or immersion blender. Set aside.

STEP THREE: Make custard and chill (the custard). YOU can chill too if you want - you've worked hard thus far.

6. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a boil. In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together.

7. Once milk and cream is boiling, drizzle about one third of the hot liquid into the egg/sugar mixture while constantly whisking – this will temper the eggs so they don’t curdle. Still whisking, slowly pour in the remaining cream mixture.

8. Pour the custard back into the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring without stopping, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. The custard should reach at least 170 degrees F, but no more than 180 degrees F, on an instant-read thermometer. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and pour the custard into a 2-quart glass measuring cup or clean heatproof bowl. Stir in the vanilla and peach puree.

9. Refrigerate the custard at least 2 hours or until chilled before churning it into ice cream.

STEP FOUR: Churn ice cream and freeze (the ice cream). YOU can freeze too, if you happen to be playing freeze tag. If so, I call "not it"!

10. Scrape the chilled custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker, and churn according to manufacturer’s directions. While the ice cream is churning, finely dice the remaining 2 peaches, then, just before the ice cream is thickened and ready, add the peaches and churn to blend. Pack the ice cream into a container and freeze it for at least 2 hours, until it is firm enough to scoop.

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