So I've been putting my ice cream maker to hard work lately. It's a little peeved w/ you hounds since I used to give it long breaks, even during the summer. No more.
So the other night I got around to making my first ever peach ice cream. I have a tiny ice cream recipe book ("The Best of Ice Cream") that I picked up from the bargain section of Barnes & Noble a while ago. It has two recipes (the other being strawberry) for Philadelphia-style ice cream.
History side note (from this book): Named b/c it originates in Philly, where historical figures such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson enjoyed early forms of "iced cream." Back then, ice cream was made by beating heavy cream, sugar, and pureed fruit in a metal bowl set over ice. Because this ice cream doesn't have egg yolks to aid emulsion, the pureed fruit acts as an emulsifier and improves texture.
Let me first paraphrase the book's recipe and then I'll describe my minor mods below. This recipe produces about a quart.
4 c. peeled, sliced fresh peaches
3/4 c. sugar
3 TB fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/8 tsp. salt
2 c. heavy cream, chilled
In food processor or blender, puree everything together except the cream. If there are bits of skin, then strain through sieve. In bowl, stir puree and cream together. Pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions for freezing.
My mods: I halved everything and used half and half instead of cream. I think it's very important to realize that ice cream recipes are guidelines and it's better to add gradually to taste since fruit quality and flavor vary so much. For instance, I used more sugar since my peach mixture (white and yellow peaches) wasn't too sweet, used less lemon juice, used equal parts vanilla and almond extract (1/4 tsp. each), and added a little more salt. I also poured the half and half in gradually and stopped when the mixture tasted right to me. Oh, and if your fruit isn't great, don't even bother making this.
Overall, the flavor and texture turned out great! I would definitely make this again, and I'm sure it would taste even better w/ heavy cream. My first use of almond extract was interesting. That stuff is really, really potent! If you don't like almond that much or don't want to buy it, then just omit it. I think even less would be better for me next time. The strawberry recipe is nearly identical, although it calls for 5 c. of strawberries (1 c. chopped and reserved for mixing in; 4 c. for puree) and NO almond extract.
As I move forward, I have some questions:
1. If a mixture is uncooked, is it at all important to chill the mixture very well before churning in machine?
2. At what point do people stop churning their ice cream? Is it possible to overchurn and ruin texture?
3. Is mixing vanilla w/ almond extract common? I always thought it was one or the other, but I tasted w/ almond alone and liked it better w/ addition of vanilla.
Thank you from me, but my ice cream maker doesn't thank you. :-)