Too Good to be True?
As you may or may not realize by now, I have made a lot of homemade ice cream in my days. Growing up, churning ice cream is what we did in my family to have fun (that and making our own potato chips). Now, mind you, my ice cream making today isn’t nearly as much of a production as it was, and still is, at my parents. There, we’d have to use an axe and a burlap sack to smash up huge pieces of ice that my mom froze in plastic tubs in our big chest freezer. Then we had one of those big old-fashioned churners with the motor that sat on top of the canister so we’d have to fill the canister with the custard, lower it in and get the thing to snap on just right. Then we’d have to fill in the space between the canister and wooden barrel it sat in with crushed ice and just the right amount of salt to make an icy cold slush perfect for freezing ice cream.
At my house…well, at my house I now have one of those mini all-in-one churners where you pop the canister in the freezer the night before and it gets cold enough to make the ice cream without any salty slushy ice. Somehow the nostalgia has gone out of it, but the ease is worth the trade-off. Especially when you can make something so wonderful as White Peach & Honey Ice Cream in a jiff with minimal mess.
I’m a sucker for fresh ripe white peaches. I don’t mind the yellow peaches, but honestly, I could care less about them. In contrast, I’d walk several miles barefoot on a hot country road to find an orchard with ripe white peaches. Their sweetness is more purely peach, in my opinion, and I tend to think they have a softer, juicer flesh than the yellows. Or maybe I just like their color. It could be that.
I got this particular batch of peaches at the Headhouse Market from North Star Orchards. As always, their fruit was amazing (can’t wait for pear season!) and I ate more of these out of hand on the drive home than I care to admit. But I did manage to save a bunch to make ice cream. Nothing is more lovely in my mind than marriage of peaches and cream. If I were a Greek god on Olympus, I’d throw all the nectar out and just have my fill of peaches and cream. It’s heavenly.
In my search for a good base recipe, I found one on Allrecipes.com that had a five star rating by 80 reviewers! If you haunt Allrecipes like I do, you know that it’s practically unheard off to have such a consistently high rating by so many reviewers. I really wasn’t looking for a recipe that used eggs but decided I’d better try this one to clear up my skepticism. All I can say is that after the first bite, I went straight to my computer and gave this a similar five star rating and gushing review. Granted, I made some substantial changes to the recipe, but I think the premise holds true to the original.
This ice cream is summer in a scoop. Sweet and creamy with soft chunks of peach that release pockets of juice on your tongue. I’m not even going to try to pretend: I ate the whole batch in two days. It’s so good. And honey…honey in this ice cream is perfect! I used my own that I’d harvested earlier this year, and it’s floral notes no doubt lifted up the fruitiness of the peach but the uninformed eater wouldn’t even know there was honey in there. I loved the idea of using a natural sweetener with these local peaches, and I’m so glad it worked out to be just the right thing to send the ice cream over the top.
Best homemade ice cream ever! Off the star-rating system! If you don’t believe me, you’ll just have to try it yourself. Just promise me you’ll be sure to use RIPE LOCAL peachs!?! It’d be a sin to use anything else.
White Peach & Honey Ice Cream
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
Don’t be put off by this recipe using raw eggs (unless you’re pregnant or nursing). I promise you don’t taste the raw egg. Just be sure to get the freshest eggs you can.
2 large eggs, beaten
½ C. (scant) sugar
½ C. honey
3 large (or 4 small) really ripe fresh white peaches
1 C. heavy cream
1 C. half & half creamer
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
Pinch of salt
2 T. vanilla vodka (optional)
Pit and peel the peaches. Chop into small cubes and then mash or puree until juice is released but chunks of peach remain. Stir honey into the peaches and set aside.
Combine the eggs and sugar until smooth. Add the heavy cream, half & half, vanilla bean, and salt. Stir until combined. Add the peach mixture to the egg mixture. Cover and chill for at least an hour or even overnight to let the flavors of the peaches and cream marry. (It is possible to still get a nice ice cream if you need to churn it right away, but the flavor won’t be as intense.)
Place chilled mixture in your ice cream maker and follow manufacture’s directions. A minute or two before the ice cream is done, add the vanilla vodka if desired (the addition of alcohol to homemade ice cream helps the ice cream retained a smoother, less icy consistency when stored in the freezer).
Serve with slices of fresh peach and whipped cream for a real indulgence!
(makes approximately 1 quart)