Butter Roasted White Peach Ice Cream

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It is a blazing July. The hillside is browned, grasses toasted by hot sun and Mother Nature lends us blissful evenings of lukewarm air perfumed with honeysuckle to make up for her fiery midday heatwaves. The Saturday market is bustling with sunhats shading their hosts from hot light and hands eagerly grasping juicy plums, ebony blackberries, and emerald spinach. A stall with overflowing boxes of white peaches catch my eye, and the fuzzy fruits are brought home with me. They are ripe, if not on the verge of overripe, and as with many of my recipes this one is born on an afternoon of daydreaming about what could be whipped up with the ingredients at hand.

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White peaches are especially sweet, tasting a bit more like honey with less of a tang than yellow peaches. Though they would surely be good added to the ice cream custard raw, this recipe calls for roasting them after rubbing with salted butter along and sprinkling with sugar to help them caramelize in the oven. The bubbling jam-like juices at the bottom of the pan will have you scraping off every spoonful before carrying on with the recipe.

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The pieces of butter roasted peaches are folded into a simple ice cream custard here and the result is a rich yet simply flavored dessert, dripping from cones in the heat of the day or scooped by the spoonful on the table, perhaps even drizzled with a bit of melted chocolate.

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This is a make-ahead recipe, meaning that the custard and peaches should be made the night before or given at least 4 hours to chill in the refrigerator. Though it isn't the quickest of dessert recipes, I promise that the flavor is worth the wait. Since you'll only be using the yolks of six eggs for making the ice cream custard, be sure to save the egg whites for making meringue or an egg white scramble. This ice cream stays fairly scoop-able even straight from the freezer, but should be kept covered with a bit of plastic wrap or in a container with a sealed lid to keep freezer burn at bay. If you don't have white peaches on hand, yellow peaches would work wonderfully as well as any stone fruit - ripe plums or apricots would be just delicious.

Sincerely, Adelle

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Butter Roasted White Peach Ice Cream

Makes just over 1 1/2 quart

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 1/2 cup milk (I prefer one or two percent fat over whole milk for this recipe)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 6 egg yolks

  • 2 ripe white peaches, roughly chopped into 1 inch pieces

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt butter in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until bubbling, then add chopped peaches and 3 tablespoons sugar and mix until combined. Transfer to the hot oven, and bake for 10-15 minutes until butter has browned and the peaches have started to caramelize. Scoop the sweet roasted peach pieces into a bowl or jar, and place in the refrigerator.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the heavy cream, milk, salt, vanilla and 1/3 cup sugar. While the cream is heating, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. When the cream is steaming and has reached a temperature of 175 degrees, scoop 1/3 cup of the hot milk and slowly whisk it into the egg yolks (do not skip this step, as pouring all the milk in at once will cause the eggs to curdle with the rapid temperature change). Continuing to whisk, add another 1/3 cup of the hot milk, then a final 1/3 cup. Finally, pour the remainder of the hot milk mixture into the bowl and whisk until completely combined. Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator.

Allow both the roasted peaches and custard to chill in the refrigerator overnight or for at least four hours until cold.

After chilling, churn the custard according to your ice cream machine's directions. Slowly drop in pieces of the roasted peaches as the custard is churning. For a soft serve consistency, serve immediately. To firm the ice cream, place in a freezer-safe container and allow to freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight, then serve.