Ice cream, specifically.

With the ridiculous number of peaches I purchased on my last farm stand run I decided a little peach ice cream wouldn’t hurt. Since my previous experiences making peach ice cream have been less than stellar I thought I would try roasting the peaches first … dipped in a little brown sugar. The water content of summer-ripe peaches creates too much crystallization in the finished product. Icy ice cream … not ideal, so by taking out some of the moisture I figured it would help.

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First up was the base. Through trial and error I’ve come up with the ideal vanilla ice cream base, IMHO (as the kids say). Not too sweet, not too rich, not too anything. Just right. I make small-ish batches because there are only two of us and I find that it doesn’t do well in the freezer for weeks on end. And we are nothing if not restrained in our ice cream eating habits. snicker.

Here’s my formula:

1 cup milk (I use either 1% or 2%, depending on what we have in the house)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
a pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
a splash of vanilla extract (sorry, I don’t measure)

Heat the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean, and salt in a small sauce pan over medium heat. When the mixture is hot, temper the egg yolks (pour a little of the hot mixture into the yolks while stirring and then pour the warmed egg mixture back into the milk/cream on the stove.) Heat the base just until it comes to simmer, stirring constantly. Once the mixture begins to thicken, strain into a large bowl. Add a dash of vanilla extract (the good stuff, please!), cover, and stick in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. Longer if you can wait. I know, I know, most ice cream instructions have you cool the mixture over an ice bath but I’m lazy and since it’s going in the fridge anyway I don’t bother.

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I use a KitchenAid ice cream canister attachment on our mixer. Since we have a handy chest freezer in the basement I can keep the canister frozen year round. I churn until everything is a soft-serve consistency and then freeze for an hour, minimum, before serving. I’ve cheated this but you kind of end up with ice cream soup, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, I suppose, but probably not ideal.

Anyway, back to the peach part of the program. I put the peaches in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. The skins popped right off and the innards went into the Vitamix along with the sugar scrapings from the baking sheet. Have I mentioned that if I wasn’t married I would run off with my Vitamix? Fact.

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After the base and peach mixture were sufficiently chilled it was time to make the ice cream. Fingers crossed.

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Results? A+ on flavor. The peachy flavor really came through. But I’m only giving the texture a B-. Much improved over previous attempts but still a little crystallized from my taste. I am kinda ready to give up on this experiment but I think there may be one more attempt in my future.