Peach Ice Cream
This recipe makes rich, silky custard the color of your great-aunt’s bathroom suite, with the unparalleled flavor and breathy fragrance of fresh peaches. Best inhaled when it is freshly made, or at least within one week, as the flavor is soon lost.
- 4 large ripe peaches (about 1 1/2 pound)
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon, preferably unwaxed
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- Pinch of sea salt
- 4 egg yolks
To prepare the ice cream: Prepare the peaches by rinsing and then halving them, collecting any juice in a bowl. Remove the pits, quarter, and roughly chop the fruit into the bowl. Add the zest and the juice of the lemon and 1/4 cup of the sugar, stir gently, cover with plastic wrap, and leave to macerate in the fridge.
Bring the milk and cream, plus a pinch of sea salt, to a simmer in a non-reactive pan. Stir often, using a whisk or silicone spatula, to prevent it from catching. Once the liquid is hot and steaming, whisk the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar together in a separate bowl until combined.
Pour the hot liquid over the yolks in a thin stream, whisking continuously. Return all the mix to the pan and cook over low heat until it reaches 180 degrees F. Stir constantly to avoid curdling the eggs, and keep a close eye on it so as not to let it boil. As soon as your digital thermometer says 180 degrees F, place the pan in a sink of ice water to cool—you can speed up the cooling process by stirring the mix every so often. Once the custard is at room temperature, transfer it into a clean container, cover with plastic wrap, and chill.
To make the ice cream: The following day, use a spatula to scrape the chilled peaches into the custard, then blend the two together with an immersion blender until very smooth—blitz until there are only small flecks of peachskin visible in the mix, at least 2 minutes. Using a small ladle, push the peach custard through a fine-mesh sieve or chinois into a clean container, squeezing hard to extract as much smooth custard mix as possible. Discard the peach skin.
Pour the custard into an ice cream machine and churn according to the machine’s instructions, usually 20 to 25 minutes, or until frozen and the texture of whipped cream.
Scrape the ice cream into a suitable lidded container. Top with a piece of wax paper to limit exposure to air, cover, and freeze until ready to serve. Best consumed when it’s freshly made, or at least within a week, as the flavor is soon lost.
Note: Macerating the peaches, skin on, with sugar and lemon overnight draws the sharp sweet flavor from the fruit, and the color and aroma from the skin (which later gets strained out), giving the ice cream a faintly pink tint and extra perfume.
Recipe courtesy of “La Grotta Ice Creams and Sorbets: A Cookbook,” copyright 2019 by Kitty Travers. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.