Farm-Stand Peach Ice Cream

peach ice cream & ruby-sara_shoot3_0361 copy.jpg

Throughout the South, but especially along rural strips of highway, you’ll find a plethora of roadside farm stands advertising their homegrown wares with colorful, hand-painted wooden signs.  I love these quirky little catchall stands, where you’re almost as likely to encounter folk art or a mini petting zoo as you are watermelons and eggs.  If you’re lucky, you can also find some of the best peach ice cream you’ll ever eat – creamy, cold, and ultrafresh.  I like to think my version, which makes the most of sweet, sun-ripened fruit, is just as tasty. 


3 cups half-and-half

1 cup heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved

6 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

6 ripe peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced

Pinch of kosher salt

Heat the half-and-half, cream, and vanilla bean and reserved seeds in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat just until scalded (just before the boiling point).  Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla bean.

Place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Slowly whisk about 2 cups of the half-and-half mixture into the yolks to temper the eggs.  Whisk the yolk mixture back into the pan with the half-and-half mixture and cook over very low heat, whisking constantly, for 5 to 7 minutes, until thick.  The custard should coat the back of a spoon and hold a line drawn with your finger.

Whisk in the butter until melted, then remove from the heat and let cool.  Transfer the custard to an airtight plastic container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Place the peaches in a large bowl and toss with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the salt.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes, until the fruit releases its juices and the sugar is no longer grainy.  Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Pulse the peaches in a blender or food processor five or six times, until smooth but still slightly chunky.  Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Add the peaches for the last 5 minutes of churning.  Scoop and serve.



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