Married to Medicine

Married to Medicine

Monday, August 1, 2011

Homemade Fresh Peach Ice Cream with Ginger-Molasses Cookies

Some of the best desserts do require a great deal of effort, and this one is well worth making once a year in August when peaches are at their best.

Fresh homemade peach ice cream with mint sprig from our garden.

You'll need an ice cream maker; we have the ice cream attachment for our Kitchenaid blender. 

Kitchenaid Blender with Ice Cream Maker Attachment
You'll need fresh, ripe peaches.  If you want the ice cream to work as a stand-alone dessert (without the cookies) you have GOT to use the BEST, juiciest, most flavorful perfectly ripe peaches you can get your hands on.  Ho-hum standard but fully ripe peaches that just don't *quite* pack that flavor punch won't be good enough.  This ice cream relies on summer's bounty for its flavor... and that goodness has to be timed perfectly in order to be fully harnessed.

This year's peaches weren't as good as last year's... I jumped the gun and should have waited for August.

I adapted this ice cream recipe from "Ice Cream:  Recipe of the Week" by Sally Sampson.

You'll need:

4 1/2 cups pitted, skinned, and dice peaches (about 7 peaches)
2 cups heavy cream (yup, ice cream is baaaaaad)
1 cup cream
4 egg yolks (large) at room temp
1 cup white sugar
Large pinch kosher salt
 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup Marcona almonds (salted), whizzed in food processor OR
Chopped fresh mint leaves and 3 tbsp cardamom - if going this route, add a full tsp of kosher salt

Place the peaches in bowl, cover and keep at room temp for a few hours.

Mash with a potato masher on occasion, or pulse just a bit in a food processor.

 You'll get a consistency sort of like this.  A few chunks to stumble upon in the ice cream, but mostly just puree.  Cover and refrigerate.

 Now, simmer the heavy cream and cream in a pan until heated through but not steaming.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, salt together.  If you're adding cardamom and mint, add it now.

Slowly add the warmed cream to the egg mixture, continuing to whisk.  Don't go too fast or you'll risk cooking the eggs with the warm cream.

Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat until just steaming but not boiling (note:  this probably doesn't kill all the bacteria; pregnant women, babies, and the elderly should avoid homemade ice cream).  Once done, let the mixture reach room temp (or to hurry things along, put it in the refrigerator).  Once cool enough, add the peaches, lemon juice, and vanilla and stir.  Cover and refrigerate 2-3 hours or until mixture is fully chilled.

Process the ice cream in your ice cream maker, per the manufacturer's directions.  If you are adding the almonds, add them just as the ice cream is coming together.

The ice cream will thicken as you churn.  I chose to churn slowly, this yields a more dense ice cream (and saves room in the ice cream maker if you're short on space).

Transfer ice cream to air tight container and place in freezer until the ice cream reaches your desired texture.  Personally I prefer it about 3 hours into freezing, when it's still somewhat soft.  Home made ice cream has a very short shelf life - it's best within 12-24 hours of making, and after a few days it loses its charm - TRAGIC, this is a recipe to share with neighbors while the gettin' is good!  

Now, if you're feeling ambitious - or if you're disappointed in your peaches - my husband agrees with me that this may be the best flavor combo we've ever found.  I have to credit our friends Aaron and Rachel for originally introducing us to peach ice cream with ginger snaps, and credit Kelly for finding the best-ever recipe for Big Soft Ginger Cookies.

You don't need to make ice cream sandwiches, which involves letting the ice cream soften so you can shape it appropriately between the cookies.  It's lovely as a small dish of ice cream with a cookie on the side.  

Homemade Fresh Peach Ice Cream with Ginger-Molasses Cookies.
This is my second year making this recipe in August and I hope to make it an annual tradition.  The ginger and molasses in the cookies are perfect compliments to sweet, fresh peaches-and-cream.  Ice cream and peaches are perfect for honoring the month of August, and the spices in the cookies hint of the cozy excitement just around the seasonal corner.


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