DIY = Darn It's Yummy!

Peach-Pecan Ice Cream Adventures

My fourth Make it from Scratch challenge attempt was on-time in the making but delayed in posting.  You see, I spent my blogging time that evening eating it instead.  (And narrowly losing Bananagrams to my husband - but it was his birthday, so I guess he's entitled to the victory.)

My husband adores peaches.  So since we've been married, I've learned a lot about peach desserts.  I learned about peach pie and peach crisp and stewed peaches.  Last summer I tried learning about peach ice cream.  I wasn't overly impressed, so for his birthday I decided to tweak the recipe a bit.  I ended up mostly copying a recipe from the Homesick Texan, but I used 1% milk (what I had) instead of half-and-half and I added salt to the pecans.

I started with five Colorado peaches - just over two pounds' worth.  Previous experience has taught me that it's no fun trying to halve and pit clingstone peaches after they are peeled and slippery, so I pitted them all first.
 Three peaches I then threw into a boiling water bath.  If the water is already at a rolling boil before you throw in the peaches, thirty seconds is all you need for the peels to slide easily off.
 I finely (in retrospect, not finely enough) diced the two skin-on peaches and macerated them with a splash of lemon juice and a scant teaspoon of sugar.  The peeled peaches were cut into large chunks and pureed in the blender.  It made about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of puree.
 Two cups of milk were heated until steamy, then set off the heat.
 Then I whisked two egg yolks with 3/4 cup of sugar...
 ...and carefully added in the hot milk a ladle at a time.  As much as the yolk/sugar mixture looks like scrambled eggs, I didn't actually want to end up with a scramble as my finished product.  The custard mix went back on the stove until it started to thicken a bit (with only two egg yolks, it didn't thicken all that much - it only coated the spoon with a very thin layer).

I always strain my custard at this point to get out those bit of egg that didn't mix properly or otherwise curdled.
 Then I added one cup heavy cream, one teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt, mixed in the peach puree and chilled the mixture in my fridge for four hours.  I'd prefer to chill it longer, but I was impatient.

While it was chilling, I mixed a tablespoon of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl.
 And toasted a cup of pecans in a tablespoon of butter on the stove.
 Then I stirred them into the sugar/spice mixture while still hot.  After they cooled, I chopped them into small pieces.

When I couldn't wait any longer, I poured my ice cream mix into my chilled ice cream freezer and churned for about 15 minutes.
 Then I added the peaches...
 ...and the pecans, which challenged the capacity of my ice cream freezer somewhat.
 And voila!  Peach-pecan ice cream!

The verdict

The peach flavor of the ice cream was excellent.  The ice cream itself was a trifle icy and crystalline in texture, but not bad.  I think adding more egg yolk and/or using whole milk would really help.

I was less pleased with the mix-ins.  The peach chunks ended up as mostly flavorless ice cubes.  They need to be smaller - 1/4" dice - and macerated with more sugar to combat freezing.  And I didn't feel like I noticed the flavors of the sugar or spices on the pecans, so I think I'd just omit those altogether and add more salt - up to 3/4 or a whole teaspoon total.  If you really wanted a sugared and spiced pecan, try caramelizing the sugar and spice on directly in the pan or oven.  But the ginger and nutmeg also impart a less clean, crisp summery taste to the nuts and more of a full, warm harvest-and-holidaytime flavor.


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