Two of my children's therapists came to visit on a hot summer day. I offered each a dish of an exquisite yet refreshing frozen dessert. It was intensely peach flavored, gently sweet, slightly tangy, not too rich, and subtly fragrant of something exotic. They were surprised to hear how easy it was to make at home. You can't get this kind of thing at your grocery store.
How did this recipe come to be? I bought some peaches that smelled wonderful. Unfortunately, their texture was a little mealy and I knew they wouldn't get eaten before they went bad.
I decided to make ice cream.
Then I remembered I didn't have any cream.
Gelato, an Italian frozen dessert, can be made with milk instead of cream, so I opted for that instead. We always have whole milk on hand for the kids. I wanted something a little more exciting than the gelato recipes I found online, so I added some sour cream, vanilla bean, and cardamom.
In my recipe, I used:
3 lbs whole peaches
3 C whole milk
1 C sour cream
1 1/2 C white sugar
4 T cornstarch
1 vanilla bean
3 cardamom pods
1 t or so of salt
a few squirts of honey, to taste
You will also need:
an ice cream maker
a pot with a heat source (like a stove)
a large bowl
Step 1: Prepare the Peaches
I find the easiest way to peel a peach is to blanch it. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the peaches in and boil for about a minute. Remove a peach with tongs and wipe away the skin with a towel or paper towel. If it comes away easily, it's ready. Remove the pot from the heat and rub the skin off all the peaches.
Slice the peaches, removing the pits.
Puree them in a blender or food processor.
Step 2: Prepare the Dairy
Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together in a dry pot. Whisk in the cold whole milk, then turn on the stove and gently heat the mixture, whisking every so often. While the milk mixture is heating, slice the tips off the ends of your vanilla bean. This will make it easier to slice open.
Vanilla beans are often flat. It's easiest to scrape out all the seed goo if you take a thin, sharp knife and slit along a fold on the side, then open it like a book. Gently scrape out the seeds from the vanilla bean and drop them in the warming milk. Drop the vanilla bean pod into the pot, as well.
Crush the cardamom pods. It's okay if the little seeds come out. Add the pods and any escaping seeds to the pot of milk. Add a little salt.
Whisk a little more frequently as the liquid gets closer to a simmer. Once the milk starts to bubble, watch to see it thicken slightly. Remove pot from heat and let it sit for a few minutes for the vanilla and cardamom to finish steeping in the liquid.
Step 3: Strain, Mix, and Chill
Pour the peach puree and the milk mixture through a strainer into a large bowl. Stir in the sour cream. Taste it. It's not overly sweet, is it? Add some honey. When it's frozen, it'll taste even less sweet. Add honey until it tastes just a little too sweet.
Cover this liquid and chill in the fridge for at least a couple hours. If you pour a warm mix into your ice cream maker, it might not freeze completely, and the crystals will likely be larger (grainier mouth feel).
Make sure the bowl of your ice cream maker is in the freezer if it's the type to require pre freezing.
Step 4: Freeze, Then Freeze Again
Okay, so this recipe makes a lot. I had to freeze this in two separate batches. Don't add more to your ice cream maker than the manufacturer instructions suggest.
Pour the chilled liquid into your ice cream maker and turn it on. Usually the home ice cream makers freeze things to a soft serve consistency. You can't really serve it like this or it'll melt really fast.
Once your gelato is done mixing and freezing in the ice cream maker, scoop it into a container. Cover the top with plastic wrap. This prevents any ice crystals forming on the top. Place the cover over the plastic wrap and freeze the gelato in your freezer for a few hours.
Once it has firmed up, scoop some into a dish.
Good things are worth the effort they take. Thanks for reading!