Two weekends ago, I broke out our newest kitchen appliance, a Cuisinart ICE-21 Yogurt-Ice Cream, and Sorbet Maker, to churn up a quart of ice cream featuring one of Colorado’s prized summer agricultural wonders, the Western Slope Palisade Peach. I debated its merits in one of my early blog posts, but after living in Colorado for a few years, I’ve come around to the glory that resides beneath the fuzzy skin of the state’s favorite stone fruit.
Succeeding at a double-crust pie that happened to be stuffed with fresh Colorado peaches earlier this month may have been the turning point for me in the best state peaches contest. I’m still thinking about joyously forking up a bite of buttery lattice crust commingled with its sweet and tangy peach pie partner-in-crime. But a gal can’t survive on pie alone. Sometimes she needs a scoop of ice cream.
Below you’ll find a great ice cream recipe that blends seasonal peaches with a vanilla custard base that’s been tweaked from the one I tried. The original recipe was not creamy enough for my tastes and unfortunately instructed me to use chopped fresh fruit as an add-in. Bad move. While the ice cream photo shows off pretty peach chunks in the ice cream scoops, those chunks are like flavored ice cubes that hurt my teeth whenever I bit into one. My solution: create a sweetened peach puree that’s added into the ice cream near the end of the churning process as I did with the Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream earlier this summer. You’ll get amped-up peach flavor that goes down smoothly and will have you scrambling for another scoop.
Colorado Peaches and Cream Ice Cream
(adapted from a Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones recipe)
Makes about 1 quart
For the Peach Puree:
– 3 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped ripe peaches
– 2 TBS sugar (Add more, to taste, if your peaches are tart.)
For the Custard Base:
– 1 3/4 cup heavy cream
– 3/4 cup whole milk
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/4 tsp kosher salt or sea salt
– 1 vanilla bean
– 5 egg yolks
– 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Make the Peach Puree:
1. Combine the peaches with the 2 TBS sugar in a large, nonreactive skillet. (Avoid using cast-iron here.) Put the skillet over medium heat, and cook, stirring frequently, until the peaches are soft and the liquid they release has reduced somewhat, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Let cool slightly, then transfer the peaches and their juice to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the custard base:
1. In a heavy, nonstick saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and salt. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use a knife to scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the bean to the pan and put it over medium-high heat.
2. When the mixture begins to simmer, remove from the heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes.
3. Make the base: In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks just to break them up, then whisk in remaining 1/4 cup sugar until smooth.
4. Uncover the cream mixture, move it onto medium-high heat, and when it starts simmering, reduce the heat to medium.
5. Carefully scoop a 1/2 cup of the hot cream while whisking the eggs constantly, and add the cream to the eggs. Repeat adding another 1/2 cup hot cream to the bowl of eggs. Using a heatproof spatula, stir the remaining cream in the pan as you slowly pour the egg/cream mix back from the bowl into the pan.
6. Cook this mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring the entire time. When it is thickened, 1-2 minutes later, it will coat the back of your spatula or wooden spoon and if you run your finger across the spoon it will create a clear path that holds. Remove from heat.
7. Strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container. (I use a cheese cloth or fine metal strainer for this). Set the container into an ice-water bath and stir with a clean spatula until the base is cool. Cover and refrigerate the base for at least 2 hours or overnight. (I usually go the 2-hour route because I want ice cream as soon as possible.)
8. Now that the custard base has cooled for at least two hours, remove the bean, and add the vanilla extract to the base and stir. Spin in your ice cream machine for about 20 minutes, or until the ice cream is fluffy and thick, adding the peach puree during the last few minutes of churning to blend. Transfer your ice cream to a chilled plastic container and freeze for at least 4 hours.