I guess I’m a liar. I promised you greens and healthy fare this week, and instead I’m delivering cream and sugar. I am the worst. But it is nearly Summer after all, so why not get a little excited for homemade ice cream? While strolling through a neighborhood garage sale a few weeks back I stumbled across a Krups ice cream maker. For me, this was like striking gold. Cool, creamy, delicoius gold. You see, I’ve been wanting an ice cream maker for some time. I had a chance to use a friend’s a few times and fell in love with the whole process. So I gave the ice cream maker a home in my kitchen, and began to dream up flavor combinations. The one criteria was that I wanted to make something that I couldn’t easily find in a grocery store. I wanted something unique enough to be worth the effort.
Now to be honest, this peach cheesecake version wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. In fact, it wasn’t even on the list. This was just going to be a test-run using what I had on hand. I always have cream cheese, and I knew there were gingersnaps in the pantry. And there on my counter, were three lonely peaches. You know the type– they were too hard to eat the first day, we forgot about them on day two, and by day three they were…past their prime, shall we say. Like I said, this was going to be a test-run.
Well it turns out that my little cobbled-together recipe is dreamy. The ice cream has a lovely, subtle, peach flavor. If you want a more powerful fruit flavor, you’ll need to add another peach. I wasn’t sure the cream cheese was going to work, since it wasn’t going to be perfectly smooth, but it ended up being my favorite addition. There are wonderful little tidbits of cream cheese speckled throughout the peach and vanilla custard that give this a real cheesecake flavor. The gingersnaps bring their little crunch for additional texture, and the flavor really marries well with the peach. As with pretty much all of my recipes, I used the best organic ingredients I could find. Hope you enjoy the ice cream– and eat a few vegetables before you indulge.
The Recipe: Peach Cheesecake Ice Cream
(Makes a bit more than 1 quart)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup 2% milk
5 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
3 peaches, puréed to yield 2/3 cup
squeeze of lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, not overly packed
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, and softened/mashed with a fork
1/2 cup chopped ginger snaps
kosher salt, to taste
To make the custard: Add 1 cup of the cream, milk, brown sugar, granulated sugar, a healthy pinch of kosher salt, and the vanilla bean to a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Make sure to split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with a sharp knife. Add both the seeds and the pod to the saucepan. Stir frequently to help dissolve the sugars. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until tiny bubbles form around the pan. Turn off the heat and let the mixture infuse for 1 hour.
In the meantime, peel and quarter the peaches. Place them in a steamer basket in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Let them steam until they are soft, about 2-3 minutes. Place them in a small mini-processor with a squeeze of lemon. Blend until smooth. Let cool.
When the hour is nearly over, prepare an ice bath by placing a large bowl with ice and water in it, then place a medium -sized bowl into that one. Pour the remaining cup of cream into the bowl so it becomes very cold. This will help the custard cool more quickly.
Re-warm the cream mixture until tiny bubbles begin to form around the edge. Remove from heat. In a steady stream, pour half of the warm mixture into a bowl containing the egg yolks to temper them, whisking them the entire time. Then pour that mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Cook until the mixture thickens slightly , coats the back of a utensil, and can hold a line drawn through it with a finger, about 4-8 minutes. A thermometer will read 175°-180°F. Do not let the mixture boil or it will curdle.
With a mesh strainer positioned over the bowl of cream in the ice bath, pour the hot mixture into it. Stir the mixture until it cools to 70°F. Add the peach purée and the softened cream cheese to the bowl. Use a whisk to mostly incorporate the cream cheese. Some small bits that remain are perfect. Then put the mixture into the refrigerator for 4 hours to cool. Now it’s ready for your ice cream maker. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Mix the crushed gingersnaps into the churned ice cream. Put into the freezer to fully set. This ice cream is best if let to warm a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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