Summer time is officially here. The farmers market erupts into a feast of summer fruit: blackberries, blueberries, nectarines, raspberries, strawberries, and my current favorite: peaches. Nothing beats the flavor of a ripe peach in the summer: sweet, slightly tart, with that amazing peach aroma. This ice cream has the added richness of mascarpone cheese (you could substitute cream cheese) and the tartness of sour cream. I really like the combination of the two with the peaches. Now, to take the ice cream to the next level, you can make cute ice cream sandwiches. Just place a small (or large) scoop of ice cream on one of the cookies, top with second cookie and gently press them together. I put the finished ice cream sandwiches on a plate in the freezer for about 15 minutes for them to harden, and then transfer them to an airtight container. They will keep for about 2 weeks, but I doubt they will last that long.
Peach Ice Cream
1 ½ lbs fresh peaches
½ cup brown sugar
1 vanilla bean, split length wise
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
5 large egg yolks
½ cup mascarpone
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon dark rum
Prepare the peaches:
1. Cut an x in the bottom of each peach. Place peaches in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and place in iced water for 3 minutes. Peel with a paring knife. If your peaches are really ripe, you can probably skip boiling them in water. Ripe peaches are easy to peel.
2. Pit and cut the peaches roughly. Place in a pan with ½ cup brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook until the peaches soften, 6-8 minutes. Roughly puree in blender.
Prepare the ice cream:
1. Place the vanilla bean, cream, milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Warm the mixture over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan.
2. Prepare an ice bath, and set aside.
3. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. Add half of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks. Pour the egg/milk mixture into the pan with the rest of the warm milk and cook over low heat stirring constantly until the custard thickens and an instant read thermometer registers 175°F. Strain the mixture into a bowl, and then place bowl over ice bath, stirring the mixture to cool it down.
4. Once the custard has cooled, add the peach puree, mascarpone, and sour cream and mix well. Refrigerate until custard is completely chilled. Add rum, and freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Store in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks. Yields about 1 quart.
Inspired by this Fine Cooking Peach Mascarpone Ice Cream by David Lebovitz.
Soft Brown Sugar Cookies
This is the basic Toll House cookie recipe, omitting the chocolate chips and nuts. I really wanted the brown sugar flavor to compliment the peach ice cream. I thought that nuts and chocolate chips would overpower the delicate flavor of the ice cream. Make sure to use brown sugar that is soft, otherwise your cookies will not be soft and chewy.
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Beat the sugars and the butter until creamy. Add egg, and beat until incorporated. Beat in dry ingredients. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough on cookie sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes. If you want to make smaller cookies, use only about ½ a tablespoon and bake them for 7 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown slightly. Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes and transfer to racks to completely cool.