Fresh Peach Ice Cream
Savannah, Georgia, May 27, 2016: We were in South Carolina the other day and I found a farm stand with the first of the peaches. I can’t believe I’ve never posted this recipe before, from my first book, Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry Cooking
Fresh Peach Ice Cream
1847′s THE CAROLINA HOUSEWIFE includes a recipe entitled “Matrimony,” calling for two dozen common sized peaches, sugar, and a quart of cream “or a very rich custard.” Peaches have grown in size since them, but I wonder if we will ever know how the old cultivars tasted. My peach ice cream marries the custard and some cream, and calls for the almond-like kernels from within the peach pits. (Folks tell me that the pits are poisonous, but I have been making this ice cream for decades with no ill effects.) The real magic of the recipe in is letting the peaches sit overnight, so that they are very sugary, and, hence, do not form ice crystals in the ice cream.
Preferably the day before:
8-10 large, very ripe freestone peaches
the juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
1 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream, well chilled
In the bottom of a double boiler, bring several inches of water to a boil. Drop the peaches in for a few seconds, remove them, peel them, and stone them, reserving the pits. Leave the water to simmer.
Place the peach pulp in a bowl, crushing it in your hands so that there are no large clumps, but do not purée it.
Remove the kernels from the pits by tapping them with a hammer one at a time. I put the pits in a towel or a paper grocery bag before I strike them, so that pieces of the pits do not fly up in my face.
Chop the kernels finely (a nut mill or a food processor can do this easily for you) and add them to the peach pulp, along with the lemon or lime juice and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.
Place the milk on the stove to scald, but do not let it boil. In the top of a double boiler, off the fire, or in a wide stainless steel bowl that will fit snugly on top of the hot water bath, begin whisking the egg yolks and the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar together. Continue until the eggs and sugar are well mixed and lightly colored, then, a little at a time, strain the scalded milk into the egg mixture, continually stirring.
Place the mixture above the hot water bath and cook until the custard thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon, stirring all the while. Remove the custard from the heat and chill thoroughly.
The next day, or when all of the ingredients are well chilled, mix all of the ingredients together and freeze them according to the maufacturer’s instructions on your ice cream freezer. I use a hand-cranked model with 3 parts ice to 1 part salt. When the ice cream is softly frozen, I remove the dasher, stir the ice cream all together once, then pack it in 4 parts ice and 1 part salt for another 2 hours before eating.