June 17, 2012

Peach Ice Cream

peach ice cream

There are so many reasons to love this time of year, despite the blistering heat and lack of rain that has left our herb garden sad and shriveled. Summer promises golden tan lines (and freckles for moi), pool parties, barbeques, vacations, slip ‘n slides and blockbuster movie releases. More importantly, however, is the fact that along with the arrival of summer comes peach season, and there is just something so special about biting into that first ripe, juicy, sweet and succulent peach of the year.

summer peaches, nature's treat

I must say, that of all the fruit fillings that are available to fill a flaky, buttery crust- and let’s face it, the options are pretty much endless- the simple filling of peaches, cooked down with a little water and sugar, is by far my favorite. I don’t think there are many other things in this world that can satisfy me and put such a smile on my face like a plate of good ol’ fashioned peach cobbler. Peach desserts don’t need the addition of any bells and whistles. If you buy them ripe enough, you hardly even need to add sugar. Peach cobblers, peach pies or whichever way you prefer to eat your peaches- they’re better off when kept simple, allowing the peaches to really sing.

the best peach ice cream

When I decided to breakout the ice cream maker last weekend, I had already known for weeks which type of ice cream was going to be making its debut on this blog. In fact, I patiently waited for June to roll around so that I could churn out 2 quarts of pure peachy bliss. OK. Fine. You caught me. I wasn’t so patient at all. I bought a bag of peaches in mid-May only to be sorely disappointed in their mealy texture. I should have known better- peaches can only truly be enjoyed when they are at their peak. And at their peak they are.

cut an "x", blanche, shock and peels slide right off!

This recipe for Peach Ice Cream is perfect too. It’s simple, with very few ingredients, just as it should be. Peaches should always be front and center, highlighted only, of course, by the addition of cream and a touch of sugar. (I think few would argue that cream and sugar can make almost anything taste just a little bit better). Cream aside, this recipe isn’t egg based, which not only makes for a lighter indulgence, but it also makes the process much, much quicker and pretty much fool proof, officially proving that Peach Ice Cream makes summer taste just as it should: simple and sweet.

peaches 'n cream

Peach Ice Cream
Recipe lightly adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

This ice cream is light, yet decadent- the perfect finish to a summer meal on the patio.  It's best enjoyed right after it's been churned, but will keep in the freezer in an air tight container.  Serve with fresh peach slices, or shortbread for a "peach cobbler" like ice cream. 

2 2/3 lbs ripe yellow peaches (about 8 large peaches)
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Special Equipment:
*if you only have a 1-quart ice cream maker, just halve the ingredients

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut an "X" in the bottom of each peach and blanche the peaches for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to a colander and place under cool, running water. The peels should slide right off at this point. 

2. Cut the peeled peaches into chunks and place in a medium sized saucepan. Add the water, cover and cook over medium heat until soft for about 10 minutes, stirring twice in between. Remove from heat, stir in the sugar and let cool to room temperature.

3. Using a blender or food processor, purée the cooked peaches, making sure to include the liquid from the pan, with the sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla and lemon juice until almost smooth, but still slightly chunky. 

4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge, for at least an hour, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Serve immediately (for the most blissful results) and enjoy! 

Makes 2 quarts

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