Just Peachy: A Holiday Weekend and Possibly the Best Peach Ice Cream Ever!

Luscious homemade peach ice cream. I mean really, can there be anything better than this? (A daylight picture perhaps?)

For those of us in the United States, we are celebrating Memorial Day today and, whether you are here or abroad, I hope you all have had a lovely and safe weekend. Memorial Day is a day set aside in our country to honor those in the United States Armed Forces who have given their lives and their service in defense of our country and our allies, and I bow my head to those brave men and women. Today many memorials are taking place around the country in the form of parades, the laying of wreathes and tributes.

Additionally, this weekend marks the unofficial kick-off to summer and all those good things that come with it like grilling on the barbecue, sharing fun times with friends, the first trip to the beach…and that harbinger of summer, homemade ice cream! We had a small cook-out Saturday night for some friends who were in town and which featured these truly amazing Chile Lime Ground Chicken Burgers with Fresh Guacamole from the lovely and talented personal chef and teacher Karista Bennett, and I do encourage you to click on the link attached to the title of these burgers…and make them! They are awesome, and so is her brother Tio’s Fresh Guacamole, which is on that same recipe post. The only thing I did differently from Karista was put some olive oil on my hands to make the patties because the chicken is so soft, and I used 1/2 of a large serrano pepper in the guacamole instead of a whole one. This recipe is a keeper, and I can see why Karista’s clients love it so much. I even posted it on the Bits and Breadcrumbs Facebook Page because I thought it was so good. I served my Warm Asparagus and Potato Salad with Lemon Tarragon Vinaigretteย alongside the burgers,ย and a grilled corn recipe that I’ll share in my next post. Super-duper good eats, y’all!

As you know, I’ve had a plethora of early peaches on hand, and after going bonkers at the market last week, I had even more. I came into the weekend knowing that I wanted to make peach ice cream, and after looking around for a recipe I liked, I settled on one by Curtis Aikens that sounded really good. Of course I tweaked it just a bit, but in the making of it, I was reminded of some pretty hard and fast tips that can make the difference between having superlative ice cream, and weirdly textured ice milk, or iced soup. The real key here is timing.

I have to say that the result of Curtis’ recipe and my tweaking was quite possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Our guests felt the same way, and the peach flavor in this was absolutely stunning. It is now my favorite fruit ice cream base. I’m sharing both his original recipe link and my tweaked version, because mine includes the instructions for a successful freezing on this and any other frozen treats. It’s not hard, you just need to plan in advance for optimal results. After you read the recipe, scroll down to see the step by step photos for achieving great ice cream at home.

I hope you’ll kick off your summer, or any time really, with some of the great ideas in this post. And, if your peaches haven’t come in yet, keep this in mind for when the time is right, or try it with some fruit you have available fresh or frozen. This ice cream is the real deal and very rich, but worth the splurge. It is also well worth the advance planning. Cheers everyone!

Fresh Peach Ice Cream
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

Adapted from Curtis Aikens’ recipe for Peach Ice Cream

2 1/2 cups chopped, peeled and pitted peaches and their juice
1 1/4 cups cane sugar (if your peaches are super sweet or if you don’t like sweet desserts, you might wish to cut the sugar back by 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons good quality Amaretto
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk, or 1/2 cup 1% and 1/2 cup light cream (this is what I used)
1/2 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract, such as Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla
4 egg yolks

A 1 1/2 quart capacity ice cream maker. If using a small home electric kind, make sure the bowl is well frozen, as in several days in the freezer before you plan to use it.

2 nights before you want to eat your ice cream, combine the peaches, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the lemon juice and the amaretto in a small bowl. Stir to combine well, cover with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator overnight to well chill. You can stir it occasionally if you think about it.

The same night as you prep the peaches, make the custard base. In a saucepan combine 3/4 cup sugar, heavy cream and the milk or milk/light cream combo as mentioned above, and the vanilla. Bring it just to a boil over medium low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then remove it from the heat. In another small bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Add about 1/3 of the hot cream mixture to the yolks while whisking the yolks, then return the yolk mixture to the cream mixture in the saucepan while whisking the cream mixture. Return the saucepan with the custard mix to medium low heat and continue to cook, stirring with a spoon, until the mixture thickens, comes just to a low boil and coats the back of the spoon, leaving a clean trail when you run your finger through it. Remove the custard from the heat, strain it into a medium bowl through a fine to remove any solids and allow it to cool at room temperature until just barely warm. Cover with plastic wrap allowing the plastic to touch the top of the custard to prevent a skin, then cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and place it into the refrigerator to chill overnight.

Now I know you’re thinking “can’t I just put this in an ice bath to quick chill it and move on?” Sure, and if you’ve looked at Curtis’ original recipe he suggests just that. But most folks have home ice cream makers with the little frozen bowls like I have, instead of the industrial kitchen kind, and they don’t freeze the same. In fact, if your custard base is still warm at all, the ice cream will not freeze before the bowl defrosts. I have had unhappy results with cream mixtures by not allowing the base to chill overnight. Unlike mixtures that contain lower fat content and therefore more water, the butterfat in the cream takes a while to chill and this will all come together much better, perfectly in fact, if you follow my directions. Just sayin’. ๐Ÿ™‚

After your custard and your peaches are well chilled the next day, strain the peaches over a fine sieve, collecting the juice into a bowl, then return the fruit to the fridge. Gently whisk the reserved juice into the custard, and start your ice cream freezer. I use a home Cuisinart ice cream maker, so this means at the last minute removing my frozen container, popping it onto the machine, putting in the dasher and lid, and starting it. Pour the custard mixture into the ice cream maker while it’s running and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions until almost completely done, in my case this was about 22 minutes later (please see visuals below.) When the custard is almost frozenโ€”and this will be soft stillโ€”add in the cold peaches and let it run until it’s the desired consistency of frozen, about 8-10 more minutes.

And here’s the other trick. You put it back into the freezer. I know, this is the hardest part…the waiting, but you will be rewarded!

Quickly transfer the ice cream from the bowl into freezer-proof containers or tubs, sealing well. Put the tubs of ice cream into the freezer and allow the ice cream to harden to normal ice cream consistency. I let it go overnight. This ice cream is very creamy and even after being frozen overnight, it will be scoop-able, but not soft serve. If you prefer yours softer, by all means freeze it to your desired preference or allow it to soften before serving. The ice cream will keep for several days in the freezer…but believe me, it won’t last that long!

The peaches all liquored up and ready to chill.

Sorry for the wacky light from the stove bulb, but this is the thickened custard ready to transfer to a bowl and cool.

This is why you strain the custard. Yuk! Who wants THAT in their ice cream?

This is the finished custard cooling. After you chill it overnight, it will be the consistency of a true custard or pudding, before you add the juices from the fruit. You could eat it like this…but then you’d miss the peaches!

The strained peach juice the next day. Stir it into the custard base just before putting it into the ice cream freezer. This will make your base more liquid.

Here’s what the ice cream will look like about 10-12 minutes into the freezing process.

By contrast, this is what it looks like when it is ready to add the peaches. Notice the increase in volume and the icy structure.

When you add the cold peaches, it suddenly all goes to soup again! No worries, it will refreeze.

Fini! This is what it will look like when it’s time to stop the machine, about 30-35 minutes total in my machine.

As you can see before removal of the dasher, it is frozen, but softer than soft serve. Time to load it into tubs and freeze it to the scoop-able consistency of my very first image. Enjoy!

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50 thoughts on “Just Peachy: A Holiday Weekend and Possibly the Best Peach Ice Cream Ever!

    • Like you, I love fresh peach anything Sharyn, and will be posting more peachy things. I know this is a decadent recipe, but I don’t make ice cream very often..usually it’s low fat sorbet around here when I make a frozen dessert. But when I do make it, I say live with passion and throw in the eggs! Then just invite others over to share in the gluttony so you won’t eat it all yourself! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • Hi Karista, you are so welcome and so deserving. That is a killer chicken burger recipe and the guacamole is wonderful, too. Everyone raved! ๐Ÿ™‚ The ice cream is super wicked, but worth the power walks I’ll have to do every day this week to work it off!

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  1. I’d already bookmarked Karista’s chicken burgers for my next barbeque — now I have to try them FOR SURE! Your post has inspired me to dig out my ice cream maker, which hasn’t seen the light of day since I had the ponytails. I’m sure they’d get a kick out of making ice cream…although I’d have to ditch the amaretto, which would make me very sad.

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    • I know the ponytails would love making ice cream! But there’s so little amaretto in this and you really can’t taste it, just a very subtle almond flavor that enhances the peaches…I should think you could use it. Regardless, I hope you get that ice cream maker out and make some, and enjoy the burgers, too!

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    • At least this recipe is worth waiting for…I’ve had some that weren’t! This tastes like the peach ice cream I remember as a child. Hang on, those peaches should be coming soon now! Wish I could send you some from here. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Thank you, Norma, and I sure hope we keep on having peaches here for a while. I’d hate to think that they’d be gone by the middle of June since they started so very early this year. I hope your local peaches will be as good this year as ours are. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Hi Judy, you need to break in that ice cream maker right away, then! I think my next endeavor will be a peach sorbet, mainly because I’m less tempted to eat it all in one sitting than I am with this ice cream!

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  2. Mmmm, I wish I was there to try to burgers and your ice cream! We get our best peaches in August.. a long time from now, so I will be printing off this recipe with your helpful suggestions! I have the same machine:)

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    • I wish I could send some peaches…and ice cream…your way, Smidge! We usually have peaches June-July. I’m hoping that we’ll at least have some “local” ones from Alabama and South Carolina if not GA peaches during that time. I’d be sad if we had this big early splash, then none for the real summer.

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  3. Perfect timing Betsy, the temperatures are soaring in Toronto. Peach ice cream sounds so wonderful. I’ve had the same issue as you describe in your note about not freezing if the custard is even a bit warm. We just returned from NYC and that’s why I’ve been MIA. I’m going to try to catch up this week.

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  4. I have so much catching up to do reading your blog, and now I really need to get me an ice cream maker. Sadly the peaches we get here are often disappointing but I hope I can get some decent ones so I can make this ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Hi Noodle! So nice to have you back amongst us again and thank you for reading! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think this would be great with cherries, raspberries (as Curtis suggests), strawberries or nectarines if any of those are more available to you. And yes, you must get an ice cream maker…they are quite handy!

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    • Hi Yudith, I know what you mean about the store bought kind. It really doesn’t taste like fresh peaches…there’s something just plain wrong about it. All the more reason to make some yourself while the peaches are around. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. This sounds delicious, Betsy. I don’t want to face summer without my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. And once we get some good peaches up here, ‘m sure to give tis recipe a try. YUM!

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    • Summer without ice cream? Perish the thought, John! I just made a similarly structured buttermilk sorbet last night with peaches and amaretto which, while not as wonderfully decadent and creamy as this ice cream, was pretty darn good. I’m riding the peach wave for all it’s worth!

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  6. I’m starting to think I’m the only person in the world without an ice-cream machine! I might have to get one… all these recipes are getting seriously tempting and this in particular… wow! I can’t remember the last time I had peach ice-cream… it’s a beautiful flavour… not too strong and wonderfully perfumed!

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    • Wonderfully perfumed…you hit the nail on the head, Charles! I think that’s exactly why peach ice cream can be so amazing, the perfume of the peaches along with the sweet, fresh taste…and the the texture of the cream, of course. Where were you when I was writing this post? ๐Ÿ˜‰ And yes, I think it’s high time you had an ice cream maker of your own. They’re so reasonably priced, and worth the room in the kitchen.

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  7. Do you realise what torture this post is?! I have a fairly hefty dairy allergy and milk, cream and ice cream are on the banned list. I manage an ice cream once a year as a treat – regret it, but oh boy do I enjoy it! so just looking at this recipe and the photos ….. is torture ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Ooooh, sorry about that, Claire! Guess you can’t have buttermilk either? If you can, then see my buttermilk sorbet recipes (see the nectarine-bourbon one and sub peaches-amaretto), and if you can’t you could surely make something similar without the dairy in sorbet form…perhaps even substitute almond milk for a sorbet version, or just do a straight traditional sorbet with water, sugar, fruit puree etc. I just made a peach-amaretto buttermilk sorbet last night (with some lemon added, too) and it was pretty awesome. Not as creamy as ice cream, but very good in its own right!

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  8. What gorgeous looking ice cream. Happy Memorial Day – such an important day in your calendar. Sounds like you celebrated it well. And what a great time of year for you with summer! I love the sound of all the food you’re now enjoying with the summer sun! xx

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    • Thank you Charlie Louie, for your good wishes and your compliment! I think the best thing about summer is all the wonderful fresh fruit and veggies coming in. They are bursting with summer sun themselves! And it certainly is nice to have the long days back. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Thank you Karen. It’s true…in my mind at least…peaches and amaretto were made for each other! This ice cream is really rich and decadent. I made sorbet this week with the same peach-amaretto-lemon combo and buttermilk. It was pretty awesome, too! Not rich like ice cream, but very satisfying and unfortunately, I can’t eat ice cream every day.

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