FYI – July 17 is National Peach Ice Cream Day – and my Uncle Frank’s birthday!
Peach ice cream brings back memories for me. It reminds me of summer visits to my grandparents house in White Stone. The whole family would gather in the backyard at the crest of the steep hill overlooking Carter’s Creek. We had a grand time.
A hand-made wooden swing, flaking yellow paint, hung from the bough of a 40-foot tree in my grandparents back yard. My brother and I took turns swinging.
We had family “crab-pickin’s” with bushels of blue crab caught right off the dock. Dad and Uncle Buck steamed them on the side of the house, giving them a generous dousing of Old Bay seasoning. When the crabs were cooked a bright red, we piled them on a newspaper-draped picnic table. We’d have deviled eggs and sun-tea — Coke for a treat. It was rustic and relaxed.
Dessert was always peach ice cream. Homemade — with one of those old-fashioned churns that requires rock salt and a lot of muscle.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had that ice cream, but the wait is over. The peaches are ripe at the market now and they are beckoning.
This isn’t my grandmother’s recipe. Hers was a vanilla custard base with chunks of ripe peaches. Yum!
In this rendition, I’ve made a peach pur?e and added peach schnapps for even deeper fruit flavor.
I know she would approve.
Fresh peaches and crumbled nilla wafers are an ideal mix-in toward the end of churning.
Now I’m feeling homesick for summers on the Northern Neck.
More of my favorite recipes from my grandmother on the Northern Neck include:
sweet peach and nilla ice cream
- 4 large ripe peaches peeled and pitted
- 1/4 cup peach schnapps
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup nilla wafers crumbled
Slice 3 of the peaches into eighths and add them to the bowl of a blender along with the schnapps, lemon juice and salt. Blend until peaches are pureed. Set aside.
Dice the remaining peach into 1/4"-1/2" pieces.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until thickened and pale yellow. Add the flour and beat until combined. Set aside.
Bring the milk to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Using a hand mixer, slowly beat the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour back into the saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until custard thickens. Be careful not to boil the custard or the eggs will scramble. Strain the custard through a sieve into a large, clean bowl. Let the custard cool slightly, then stir in the peach puree and cream. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled - at least 2 hours.
Stir the chilled custard, then transfer it to your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturers instructions. When ice cream is almost ready, add the peaches and nilla wafers and continue to mix until well incorporated. When ice cream is ready, it will be like soft-serve. For a firmer consistency, transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and chill for 2 hours.