Sunday, November 2, 2008

Peach-Quince Ice Cream

The best of summer and fall

In mid-October, Jacques Neukom's stall at the Arcata Farmers Market was selling organic late summer peaches, appropriately named Sweet September. Not as juicy as summer peaches, but a sweet, delicious free-stone fruit nonetheless and a wonderful surprise just when you thought peach season was over. At about the same time, wonder of wonders, my fickle quince bush produced a massive amount (for it) of quinces that fairly begged to be included in this ice cream. Some of them, anyway. The rest are languishing in the fridge waiting for me to become inspired to make a tarte Tatin, or something stewish. . .

Christine's Peach-Quince Ice Cream
Ingredients:1/2 cup (heaping) quince cubes, peeled, cored and cubed in 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons fine sugar
2 tablespoons water
4 large Sweet September peaches, pitted and sliced into eighths
3 medium eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1 cup cream or half n half

To prepare the quince, heat the diced fruit with 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until a low boil is reached. Cook over low heat until the quince becomes fall-apart soft and the liquid has reduced, about 6 minutes. Watch the pan carefully so the ingredients don't scorch or it will begin to jel right in front of your eyes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
To continue with the ice cream, buzz the sliced peaches with the quince in a food processor until smoothly puréed. Set aside.
Beat the eggs with the 1/3 cup sugar until pale yellow and thickened.
Heat the milk to a simmer, slowly pour 1/3 of it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then return to the remaining milk in the pan and heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon and has thickened slightly. Watch carefully that the custard doesn't curdle.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir the fruit purée into the custard, blending completely.
Pour into a glass container and chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.*
Stir the custard before freezing in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Serve soft from the ice cream maker or freeze, tightly covered, for several hours to firm.

Cook's Notes:
> Whole, 2%, 1%, or skim milk may be used to make this ice cream, as can cream or half & half. Whatever you use will determine the creaminess, or not, of the finished product. The less fat you use, the more ice crystals in the ice cream.
> * Some folks might want to strain the custard before pouring it into the glass container for chilling. I don't usually do this because I like the texture of tiny peach skin and quince pieces in the ice cream. By all means, go ahead and strain if it suits you.

Copyright © 2005-2008, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved