Friday, August 25, 2017

When life gives you peaches...


This year, the local apple crop has been pretty poor; I have only a few apples on my own tree and they're small and shriveled. There were very few blossoms in the spring. Few blossoms equals few apples. It seems like this happens every other year, based on my experience as an apple tree-owner. In the good years, there are more apples than I can use. I frantically peel, cook and mash apples for fruit leather and applesauce. I make pies and crisps. We eat apples in hand all day long. One year, I tried making apple jelly, which was pretty to look at but completely terrible to eat (it was syrupy, like honey, and tasted just like rotting apples...mmm).

I'm disappointed not to have more apples, but there's always next year. In the meantime, a neighbor who often gives us some of his apples (which are way better than ours, especially for straight eating), gave us peaches from his backyard instead (his apples haven't done well this year either). He has one large tree, which he started from a seed, and his are the nicest homegrown peaches I've ever seen. Not perfect - he doesn't use any chemicals - but very good, and even nicer for the neighborly gesture. We ate some of his peaches as is, which was lovely, but I also decided to try out a recipe for peach ice cream that I'd recently come across. I've been wanting to make peach ice cream all summer, but the peaches in the store this year were pretty blah. The homegrown ones were just right.

I found a really interesting recipe on a blog called Stephie Cooks (click the link to have a look). The blogger, Stephie, calls this The Best Peach Ice Cream. I was intrigued. I've had homemade peach ice cream before (not made by me), and found it to be somewhat bland. Mostly, I tasted the cream and vanilla flavoring in it, but there wasn't much peach flavor to me. Sometimes fruit ice creams can be very bland because the fat takes over. You need stronger flavors in the fruit, particularly more acidity. I thought Stephie's technique of macerating the peaches in sugars and lemon juice seemed like a great idea because it would really bring out the peach juices, making a stronger flavor in the ice cream. This ice cream contains some surprising ingredients, including the juice of a whole lemon, brown sugar, vanilla extract and a tiny bit of almond extract.

(Stephie got the recipe from her friend; I'll refrain from reprinting it here because I don't have their permission to do so, but please have a look at the link if you're interested in making some incredible peach ice cream yourself).


I sliced the peaches thinly, and mixed them with the sugars, lemon juice and flavoring extracts in a large bowl, leaving it all to sit for 15 minutes. By the time I came back, the peaches were soft and there was a lot of juice in the bowl. I could smell the change as much as I could see it - the peach scent had intensified greatly.


The peach mixture goes into a food processor next, to be pulsed until it's a chunky semi-liquid. I don't have a food processor, so I used my Osterizer blender, which worked fine.


I poured the fruit mixture back into the same bowl I'd macerated the peaches in (after rinsing it out), because it has a tight-fitting lid, and stirred in the heavy cream. Then I put the lid on and stuck the bowl in the fridge overnight. The next day, it was thick and creamy, almost like pudding. We processed it in our electric ice cream maker and froze it in plastic containers for about four hours before serving.


The ice cream was smooth and creamy, with lots of little bits of peach in it. I loved the texture; it wasn't icy at all (something I'm always trying to troubleshoot with my homemade ice creams). The flavor was so interesting, not what I was expecting. The brown sugar and lemon gave a slight tartness, almost a back-of-the-throat sensation of acidity, while the almond extract heightened the peachy flavors without really being noticeable as almond - it wasn't like eating marzipan, in other words. It was like a deep-rooted peachiness that you could smell and taste. Peaches and almonds are closely related botanically, so it was a really good idea to combine both in this ice cream. It isn't health food, to be certain, but the whole effect is of fresh, bright fruit and mellow cream, light and clean. We enjoyed this delicious and surprising ice cream very much, and we'll make this recipe again for sure.


17 comments:

  1. Oh, that's lovely! Sounds so delicious! ♡

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  2. Looks delicious!! I LOVE fresh peaches just cut up in a bowl with a bit of sugar to make them syrupy ... summer in a bowl :)

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  3. Yummy! I'd love some! At least we can buy tasty apples at the grocery store. I like Envy apples lately.

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  4. It does look very appetising. Lucky you being given home grown peaches, yum.

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  5. Oh wow! Would you believe my mouth is watering just reading your description and seeing the photos. I really enjoyed being taken through the whole process of preparing the peaches for ice cream. How nice of your neighbor to share with you so generously.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  6. That looks delicious! Thanks for the idea!

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  7. Oh, yum! This looks and sounds delicious. I bought a Cuisinart ice cream maker at the beginning of summer and have only used it twice - tried making healthy ice cream using coconut milk and maple syrup as a sweetener, as per the recipes I used. They were terrible, lol. Even though I rarely eat sugar anymore, I would love to try this recipe, but the problem is, I have no one to share it with. My husband doesn't like ice cream (I know!) and my son doesn't like peaches. I might have to make it and invite a friend over. :-)

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  8. I'm reading a most interesting book called The Hidden Life of Trees. Fruit trees take a year off so they can rest up for fruit bearing the next year. We think it's something so simple, but the truth is the trees go through quite a stressful process to flower and fruit. Your apple trees are doing exactly what they are supposed to do.

    The best peach ice cream I ever had was made in my Mammaw's backyard during Easter and summer holidays when all the cousins would gather and take a turn cranking the old ice cream maker. Good memories!

    Happy Sunday!

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  9. I love peaches and that ice cream sounds delicious! :)

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  10. Sounds absolutely delicious. I often macerate fruit before I make jam – I'm not sure if it intensifies the flavours but it certainly does no harm!

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  11. It certainly does sound delicious and I am so tempted but I am determined to lose a few pounds so am making better choices at the moment. Sadly with family visits and visitors we have definataly over eaten and piled on the pounds.

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  12. Good thing you don't live down the street or I'd be on your doorstep before you get done reading this comment LOL. Yummmmm. Your ice cream looks wonderful!

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  13. Peach ice cream... it looks delicious!

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  14. It sounds delicious. I love peaches but the ones in the shops here are expensive, imported and often lacking flavour. I tend to buy nectarines instead. But peach ice cream - oh yes, I could like that. Yum.

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