This summer we’ve toyed with triple-digit temperatures repeatedly, something that is increasingly becoming the new norm. When the thermometer on our north-facing, shady porch says it’s 100 degrees F, it’s time for ice cream! It’s peach season in Arkansas, so I can’t resist finding ways to use peaches. Why not ice cream? Today’s recipe is for a peach ice cream that’s not too sweet, letting the natural goodness of the peaches shine.
Making ice cream at home is easy, as long as you have lots of ice, a little bit of patience, and an ice cream maker. No, I’m not talking about Mr. Homesteader. I’m talking about an electric machine. I remember fondly the days that my family and friends took turns on a hand-crank ice cream maker. I also remember when we bought our electric machine. It’s the same one I use today, decades later. Still, if you’ve got the muscles and time, go for a hand cranker, and burn off the ice cream before you ever eat it!
Now, let’s talk about two crucial ingredients that don’t go in the ice cream. You need lots of cubed or crushed ice, at least one large bag if you need to buy it. You’ll also need rock salt, also known as ice cream salt. Some stores keep ice cream salt in the seasonal section, while others keep it with spices, salts, and baking staples. We’ll use about a cup of rock salt today.
Peach Ice Cream
makes about 1 1/2 quart
Ice Cream Ingredients
As always, you should be able to find everything listed here in organic form, so buy organic if you can.
- 4 egg yolks (Save the whites! Use them for an egg white omelet with seasonal vegetables, and you’ll have a light, fluffy, flavorful summer breakfast. Ask me if you want a recipe.)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- optional: 1/4 cup nonfat dried milk
- 2 cups half and half (or whipping cream if you’re feeling decadent)
- 2 cups milk (whole or 1%)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
- 4-5 ripe peaches
Using a whisk, stir together the egg yolks, the sugar, and at least one cup of the cream in a heavy-bottomed pot. (Whisk in the nonfat dried milk too if you are using it.) Heat over medium heat, whisking regularly, until the mixture is too hot to stick your finger in and hold but not boiling. Adjust heat to hold it there as necessary. If you have a candy thermometer, we’re looking for about 140 degrees F, held for 5-10 minutes. Whisk more as the temperature rises. The mixture should thicken a little as the egg cooks, but don’t let the milk curdle! Now take the mixture off the heat and add the rest of the half and half, milk, and vanilla.
Next peel and pit the peaches and dice them. You can do this step in the early stages of cooking the egg mixture if you’d like. Add the diced peaches and any liquid they’ve given off to the mixture. Chill it well, even to the point of putting it in the freezer if you’re planning on making the ice cream in a few hours.
Is your mixture good and cold? Break out that ice cream machine. Using the method that comes with your ice cream maker, put the ice cream mixture in the cylinder, add the paddles, secure the top, and pour in the ice and salt, alternating as you add them. We let our ice cream mix inside, in the air conditioning. At 100 degrees F outside, the ice cream may never properly freeze. Inside at about 80 degrees F, it freezes easily. You’ll know your ice cream is ready when the paddles slow down and the machine starts to sound labored. Hand-cranked machines will get harder to turn as the ice cream freezes, so save your best muscle at the party for last!
Quickly scoop the finished ice cream into a freezer container, being sure to share the paddles with your favorite people before the ice cream melts. Avoid letting the ice cream thaw and re-freeze, as without commercial emulsifiers the ice cream can become hard. You can dish up the ice cream immediately soft serve, or let it freeze a bit harder for those perfect round scoops!
Our next dessert will be rich chocolate ice cream, but before that I’ll post a tasty ratatouille Provençal recipe, to help you use up your bounty of summer garden and market vegetables.
Copyright Ozarkhomesteader 2011, including photographs.