It started with cleaning out the freezer. I found the large bag of last year's peaches that I'd frozen with intentions of feeding them to Baby Eats through the fall and winter. Problem: she didn't like them (or the green beans or the squash I'd frozen, either). So when I re-discovered them, I thought I could just make some ice cream with them. "I know! I'll make peach cobbler ice cream!" I like peaches, but I like peach cobbler a lot more.
So, I made a standard vanilla ice cream and added the peaches. And it was meh. Not terrible, but not great. The year in the freezer had not been kind to those peaches. But then I added a simple crust...and it crumbled into bits instead of chunks, ruining the creamy texture of the ice cream. And just mucking up the taste. It went from meh to terrible. As in, I had to throw it out. It was that bad.
Undaunted, I tried again. But I came up with a different recipe. What I did was make a honey vanilla ice cream and add peaches to it. I used good, fresh peaches (yellow, for more flavor) and I roasted those little guys. So they came out nice and sweet and rich in flavor. And I finely chopped them instead of pureeing them so that some bites let the honey come through and other bites were more about the peach. But if you don't like frozen bits of peach, you might want to puree them and add more honey. And if you've got some on hand and like an even peachier taste, put some peach liqeur or brandy in there, too.
And the cobbler? I just didn't want to risk mucking it up again, so when I have the ice cream, I just have a shortbread cookie with it. Works just fine!
Roasted Peach and Honey Ice Cream
(yield: about 1 ½ quarts)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup honey
¼ cup sugar
pinch of sea salt (preferably fleur de sel)
*optional 2 tablespoons peach liqeur
3 peaches (a strong-tasting yellow peach, firm with no mushy parts)
Approximately 2-3 tablespoons sugar (or honey)
In a large bowl, beat together milk, cream and eggs. Pour into a large saucepan, add honey, sugar and salt and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture has reached a custard-like texture (will cover the back of a wooden spoon thickly; about 15 minutes or so), remove from heat and pour back into the (rinsed) bowl. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Beat again if the custard has separated. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least three hours.
Meanwhile, wash and halve three peaches and remove the pits. Place cut side up in a roasting dish, sprinkle with sugar (or drizzle with honey) and bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until the peaches begin to caramelize. Set aside to cool. Once cool, chop finely and place into a small bowl. Save all the juice from the roasting dish and the chopping mat and add to the peaches.
Once the custard has cooled completely, make the ice cream according to the ice cream maker's instructions. After the ice cream has been churned, transfer to a freezer-safe covered bowl, stir in the peaches and peach juice and freeze until firm.