Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fresh Peach Ice Cream with Ginger Liqueur and Crystallized Ginger

Peaches ripen later on the north coast than in hotter-in-summer parts of the US, which makes July the start of the season for our truly local ones.  The peaches pictured below hail from Neukom Family Farm and may be found these days at local farmers markets; they're sweet, dribble-down-your-chin juicy, and they make a terrific ice cream.

Keeping an ice cream recipe simple is really not my style, and here, not being able to leave well-enough alone, I've added a French ginger liqueur and chopped crystallized ginger to mix things up a bit, making for a more, dare I say it, sophisticated dessert.  The liqueur also helps to keep the frozen ice cream from turning into a brick, making for easier scooping. That said, please feel free to leave out both of those extra ingredients if you prefer; their absence will not affect the finished product.

Fresh Peach Ice Cream with Ginger Liqueur and Crystallized Ginger

4 ripe yellow peaches, medium-large, pitted, skins left on
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons ginger liqueur (optional)
pinch salt
2/3 cup sugar, divided
4 egg yolks
1 cup 2% milk
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Chop the peaches into chunks and put into a food processor along with the lemon juice, ginger liqueur (if using), 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the salt. Purée until all the peaches have liquefied and no chunks remain. Set aside.
Whisk (or use a hand mixer) the egg yolks with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar until the yolks are pale and thickened.
Bring the milk to a simmer in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, until small bubbles form around the edge of the pot. Do not let the milk boil.
Whisk about one-third of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, then whisk it all back into the hot milk pan on the stove. Heat on medium, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon. Drawing your finger down the coated spoon should leave a track in the custard. Keep the heat on the conservative side of medium and take good care to not let the custard curdle.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour the custard (through a strainer, or not) into a glass bowl or 8-cup glass measure.
Allow the custard to cool for about 15 minutes then stir in the heavy cream.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold; overnight is best for thorough chilling.
Process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions, adding the chopped ginger when the ice cream is semi-frozen.
Pack into container that has a tight-fitting lid and place in the freezer for an hour before serving.


Cook's Notes:

My preference is to make fruit ice creams with their skins on.  I feel that the skins add to the texture and color of the finished product.  Please put your custard through a fine mesh strainer if you don't wish the tiny bits of skin to be present in your ice cream.

Copyright 2005-2014, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved