What I love most about summer is the fruit.
Yes, I love a nice swimming pool and a glass of lemonade or limonada, but what I could not live without is fruit. Juicy watermelon, sweet peaches, ripe cantaloupe and meaty tomatoes. I could subsist exclusively on this stuff. And I mostly do.
|Farmer John shows off a few of the radical peaches in the bunch.|
Pounds and Pounds of Peaches
In honor of this year’s bumper crop, and the fact that one of our farmers market members has 4,500 peach trees and 48 varieties on his family farm in Fredericksburg, we’re planning on everything being peachy during July. We’ll have lots and lots of peaches and almost a dozen of our vendors will feature edibles using fruit from Engels Farm.
I spent a lot of time last week learning what everyone is going to make and I can’t shake peaches out of my head. Really. It’s crazy. It’s what I think about. Peach lemonade. Peach smoothies. Peach jam. Pork belly and peach tamales. Fried peach pies. Peach ice cream. Peach-frangipane tart. Peaches and cream popsicles. Grilled peaches, onions and bacon salad with buttermilk dressing. Peach sorbet.
Peach Ice Cream
It all sounds ridiculously delicious, but it’s the peach ice cream that is calling my name. Again and again. Thick and creamy, chock full of sweet and juicy peaches. Yes, the real deal. With cream and sugar. Just like Jeni would make it. (Perhaps you have heard of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams? Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, this ice cream is the rage and can also be found in specialty grocery stores. You may recall that Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home cookbook was on my 2011 Christmas wish list. Santa didn’t read my memo and my birthday is coming up. Maybe I’ll get lucky this time.)
So I am listening to that little voice inside my head that screams “peach ice cream,” and I just do it because I think this is going to make several fathers I know very happy on Father’s Day. However, I would recommend you make this ice cream. Because. You. Can. And you should.
Or wait until July 1 when we kick-off a month-long celebration, Everything’s Peachy at the Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market, where there will be plenty of peach ice cream for everyone.
Peach Ice Cream
If you're looking for a rich and creamy ice cream base that you can add anything to, look no further. This is the real deal. A winner. Hands-down. Trust me. I know ice cream. The only hitch is you need to make the base the night before you want to make ice cream so it can cool and chill thoroughly in the fridge overnight. Add strawberries, blackberries, melted chocolate, espresso coffee granules or chocolate chips to make it special or just use this recipe for the most spectacular vanilla ice cream you won't soon forget.
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk organic
- 4 teaspoons corn starch
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream organic
- 2/3 cup sugar if your peaches are super sweet, you can easily cut back to 1/2 cup of sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups ripe peaches washed and sliced (approximately 6-7 medium sized peaches will make about 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or more, depending on how sweet or not sweet the peaches are
In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of milk and the corn starch, and set aside.
In a 4 qt. saucepan, whisk together the remaining 2 cups of milk with the cream, sugar, honey and salt. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 4 minutes. Be careful as the mixture will expand, so stir it frequently and don't even think of walking away. You may need to turn the heat down just a bit to make sure it does not boil over.
Using a spatula, scrape in cornstarch slurry and return to a boil. Cook and stir for another 2 minutes until it thickens up.
Place cream cheese in the slurry same mixing bowl, add 1/4 cup hot milk to it and whisk until mostly smooth.
Remove the boiling milk mixture from the heat and carefully whisk in cream cheese mixture.
Let cool slightly and add then vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour mixture into a container and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, before you are ready to make the ice cream, if you are making peach ice cream, wash the peaches (or fruit of choice) well and slice. I prefer to leave the skin on as it adds texture, flavor, color and added nutrients. Place sliced peaches in a bowl and, depending on how sweet (or not) your peaches are, sprinkle with a tablespoon of coconut sugar. Let the bowl of peaches sit on the kitchen counter and macerate for 1-2 hours. Take 2/3 of the peaches and blend until pureed, leaving the remaining 1/3 peaches sliced which will add a nice texture to the ice cream reminding everyone how peachy the peach ice cream is.
Add the peach puree to the milky base and stir well to combine. Pour the peachy-milk mixture into the ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream is just about ready, add in the remaining peach slices and let process another few minutes so it's all blended.
Transfer ice cream to a storage container and freeze until set.
If you want to go old school, serve ice cream in a bowl or feel like you're 5 years old again and serve in ice cream cones.
Be sure and use the amounts of milk and cream prescribed below as this will fit perfectly in your ice cream machine and allow for the ice cream to expand as it freezes.