Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Peach Ice Cream

(NOTE: Since my sister informed me that these ice cream posts were becoming a bit obsessive, this is my last ice cream post for the season. Fortunately, it is also the end of ice cream season ;-)

With coffee, vanilla and chocolate hazelnut ice cream under our belt, and the freezer well stocked with chocolate hazelnut for the kids, I wanted to take advantages of the fresh peaches we get this time of year to try a fruit ice cream.

Once again, I used the previously successful vanilla ice cream recipe as a starting point, and experimented until the flavors seemed right.
Serious Peach Ice Cream
(with apologies to Alton Brown)

2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 12 oz. jar of high quality peach preserves (not jelly)
2 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 high quality bean)
1 1/2 fresh peaches, peeled and finely chopped (1 peach if large)

Combine all ingredients except the fresh peaches (including the beans and their pulp) in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Attach a frying or candy thermometer to inside of pan. (see note below) Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the hull of the vanilla beans, pour mixture into lidded container and refrigerate mixture overnight to mellow flavors and texture.

Freeze mixture in ice cream freezer according to unit's instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. 5-10 minutes before freezing is complete, put fresh peaches in the mixer and start up again. Once the volume has increased by 1/2 to 3/4 times, and reached a soft serve consistency, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer before serving (8 hours in our freezer).

NOTE: If you do not have a thermometer, bring the mixture just barely to a simmer. As soon as you see a bubble hit the surface, remove it from the heat. Do not let it boil.

For this recipe, make sure to use a high quality peach preserve (this is where most of the flavor comes from). I went with a fancy Swiss brand. Cut the sugar back from 1 cup to 1/3 a cup because of the sweetness already in the preserves

For this batch, I used 2 vanilla beans instead of one. This is because the new batch of beans I purchased are no where near as fragrant and intense as the first batch. Lesson learned: vanilla beans can vary by factors of 2-3 in flavor and intensity.

This batch was nice, but I was hoping for more peach flavor. Larger chunks of peach were also fairly unpleasant, since they came across as frozen chunks of ice (at least until the meltd)

For the next time, I think I'm going to give up on the peach perserves, and puree a large amount of fresh peaches. My hope is to get more peach flavor, and keep things smooth.

The girls do not care for peach ice cream. Even the little bit of peach in the vanilla recipe was enough to put them off. Looks like dad is going to have a lot of peach ice cream to eat this winter.

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