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September 7, 2008

SSS - Peach Ice Cream

I have two disconnected memories of Peach Ice Cream from my childhood. One, I'm not sure is real but I remember visiting cousins of my mom, at their house on a lake, and having peach ice cream. Another time, I remember our neighbors, across the street, making it in this big wooden thing you had to crank. Not much came out in the end (at least I thought for what you put into it) but what came out (considering I wasn't a peach ice cream fan - I mean c'mon peach when you can have chocolate?), was pretty darn good.

So other than those two memories, since childhood, I hadn't really given much thought to eating and/or making peach ice cream.

Of course, that was until the Sunday Slow Scoopers stepped in.

Now let me start off by stating, if you don't get good peaches, don't bother with this. Your peaches taste bland, your ice cream tastes bland - there's no way around that axiom.

So while I'm on the subject of good peaches. Let's take a moment to educate the masses on how to choose a peach. Never, ever, ever squeeze a peach. I hate to tell people, but odds are most of the peaches in the bins (especially at the supermarkets) aren't ripe. Squeezing a hard peach, only leaves bruises that won't appear until the peach actually does ripen - so that perfect peach you bought at the market, a day or two later, will be completely bruised from where you poked and prodded it (or worse yet, my perfect peach will be because some shmo before me squeezed the crap out of it - can you tell I'm passionate about my peaches?). To choose a peach, simply pick it up, gently cupping it in the palm of your hand, and sniff it around the stem. If it smells like peach, even if it's hard, it will taste like peach. When you get home, stick it in a paper bag on your counter for a day or too and voila, good peach.

So now, once you have your perfect peaches, and they've ripened, you can make the ice cream (you need four good size peaches for this recipe, 600 grams or 1 1/3 pounds).

First you peel them. Does anyone have a good method for peeling peaches? Because I gotta tell you, those suckers get slippery as your working your way around them and almost lost a couple to the sink. Once peeled, slice all the way around the peach, dividing it in half and basically pry it apart to get the pit out. Now chunk it and throw it into a non-reactive medium-sized pot, with a half a cup of water and 3/4 cup of sugar. Cook that on the stove for 10 minutes, covered, on a medium flame stirring once or twice during the process. Let it cool to room temp.

peach_ice_cream_1.jpg
Peach Mixture After Blending

Now take your peach mixture and in a blender or food processor (I used a blender), puree that with 1/2 cup of sour cream (I used full fat but may try light or no fat next time to see how it changes the consistency), 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and a couple of drops of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. You want some chunks in this sucker, so don't puree too long. I think I did mine for a few seconds at most.

Chill the mixture in the fridge - I've taken to chilling mine overnight. Stick it in your ice cream machine and let it do it's thing. That's it - easy peasy. Oh and Dave says you can do this with nectarines too (follow guidelines above for choosing peaches), but you don't need to peel them because they soften enough during the cooking process.

peach_ice_cream_2.jpg
Peach Ice Cream w/ Blackberries from the CSA

So here's my question though: can I make that sugar-syrup peach step and can or freeze it during the summer, then use those all winter long to make fresh peach ice cream? We didn't go peach picking this summer, but if we do next summer, it may be a good way to use all those peaches!

Update: A 1/3 cup serving is 3 weight watchers points. A 1/2 cup serving is 5 WW points.

August 18, 2010

Sunday Slow Scoopers - Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

perfect_scoop.jpg I think it was two years ago (right, not last summer?) that the Sunday Slow Cooks decided to make their way through Dave Lebovitz's book, The Perfect Scoop. Since then I've spent some time making other recipes of his, as well as experimenting a little too.

Sammi's been hocking me to make ice cream for her (I made three batches last week, but brought them to a friend, so I promised to make some this week with her), and since I had milk chocolate in the house, I opted for this flavor.

You should know a few things.

1) His ice creams are for the most part way fattening. He justifies the eating of these by limiting yourself to one perfect scoop. But even with that, I still found many of them overpoweringly rich in that I could feel the fat on my tongue. So as I've been making them recently, I've been swapping the milk proportion with the cream proportion. Or reducing in some other fashion. They are still in no way low fat, but at least my tongue doesn't feel coated with fat when I eat them.

2) For this flavor, he suggests using good milk chocolate, that has at least 30% cocoa. The first time I made this, I found some organic chocolate that did specify how much cocoa, percentage-wise, the bar contained. The second time, I had Lindt chocolate that does not specify, and that's what I used.

3) His recipe calls for 8 ounces of chocolate. The bars I had were 3.5 ounces and I only had two. Using a total of 7 ounces of chocolate didn't seem to affect the recipe at all.

milk chocolate ice cream


Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

7 ounces good milk chocolate, chopped fine
1 cup cream (he uses 1.5 cups)
2 cup whole milk (he uses 1.5 cups)
3/4 cup sugar (I used a scad less and might consider reducing it a bit more)
1 big pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
2 t cognac (I used it the first time, and didn't use it the second time - do what you like).

Melt the chocolate in the cream in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water (I used the top of a double boiler). Set aside with a sieve over the top (I scraped my mixture into a bowl and then put the sieve over the top).

Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl.

Heat the milk, sugar and salt in a medium sauce pan. When warm (not boiling), slowly add this to the egg yolks, stirring with a whisk as you go (if working alone, wrap a dish towel and base of bowl that holds the yolks, so it doesn't spin). Return yolk-milk mixture back to pot and warm on stove until it thickens, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula or in my case a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom. The mixture is done when it coats the back of spoon/spatula and you can trail a finger through it and the pathway remains (the more ice cream you make, the better you'll get at figuring out when it's done).

Pour the custard (aka egg-milk mixture) through sieve into bowl with chocolate mix. Put bowl in ice bath (I actually do this ahead of time, so it's already there when I add the custard), and stir to cool, adding cognac if you want. Pour into a container and put in fridge to chill thoroughly (I like to chill mine over night).

Put mixture in ice cream maker, following manufacturer's directions.

Oh, and if you can get 16 "perfect scoops" out of it - they're five points each. I'm going to try this as ice milk soon - that should knock it down some but of course, it won't be as creamy.

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