Wednesday, June 17, 2009

TWD - Honey Peach Ice Cream

Okay, so this post is more like Wednesday With Dorie. Although I made the ice cream a few days ago, I got caught up in life and couldn't post until today. Apologies! Anyway, on with the show.

This week's recipe was chosen by Tommi of Brown Interior. Oh Tommi, you picked a perfect week for ice cream...we're starting to actually get a summer this week, so this was a most welcome dessert!

I just started making ice cream last year, and I love it. You can make it without a machine, but if you have one it's much easier than you'd think - and far tastier than anything store bought. Better than Hagen Daas, even. Homemade ice cream has so little ingredients - just milk, cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and maybe some fruit (or chocolate, YAY). That's it. Is it any wonder it tastes so good? And the flavours so pure? And my ass is so big?

This ice cream is custard based, which is some people find tricky to make. Custard ice cream has egg yolks in its base, which is what thickens the ice cream. Other ice cream recipes use cornstarch to thicken, so if you are scared of the egg yolk thing, start off with a simpler recipe.

First, I beat the eggs with sugar until they were pale yellow and thick.

Aren't they pretty? They look good enough to eat right here, but I'm betting they wouldn't taste that great. Next time I have a kid around, I'll get them to experiment for me. Kids are great for that - just tell them it has sugar in it, and they'll eat just about anything. Save your tastebuds, fatten a child!

Next, you simmer your peaches in 1/4 cup of honey until they are soft, and then blend them together. Set it aside until your custard is done.

Now, for the custard base! Seriously, this is simple. Heat some cream and milk to boiling, and then slowly drizzle about a third into the sugar/egg mix, whisking all the while. Give it a good whisk, then add the rest of the hot liquid while stirring. Return the mixture to the stove, and stir continuously until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. It took me under 5 minutes to reach this stage, although I have cooked custards longer to get to that point.

Once your custard is done, remove from the heat and strain it into a clean heat proof bowl. Add the peach puree, and chill for a few hours at least. The peach puree swirl made patterns in the custard...quite mesmerizing, really. Maybe I will start a business reading fortunes in ice cream swirls.

When chilled, pour the whole mixture into your ice cream maker, and let it churn its little heart out. And then try not to eat the whole thing immediately. I actually made it last a few days this time. VICTORY IS MINE!

Things I learned:

1) This ice cream calls for chopped peaches added during the freezing process. Some people didn't like frozen bits of peaches, but I loved it. Then again, I cut up peaches and freeze it just to eat on a hot day.

2) If you are new to making custards, make sure you strain the mixture through a seive at the end. The worst thing that can happen when making a custard is that the eggs cook a bit; if that happens, the seive will catch any solid bits, and you'll have a lovely smooth ice cream.

3) The peach and honey flavour was subtle, but I quite liked it. I REALLY like peaches, however, so next time I might up the cooked peaches or possibly add some peach juice.

4) Real ice cream freezes like a brick; the stuff you buy in the store has additives to make it scoopable. If you want a softer ice cream, put 1-2 tsp of vodka in your custard. I did that, and it had a perfect consistancy. Drawback? I could grab my container out of the freezer and eat it at will. And my will is weak.

See? Yeah....this was supper. Good thing I'm not setting an example for anyone.

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