So I don’t want to be, I really don’t want to be, but I am one of those people who just took their air conditioner out of their window about a month ago. Possibly less. And even worse, it’s still sitting there on the floor, because my closets are so jammed pack full of stuff, um.. useful, important stuff, all of it, I assure you, that I can’t find a way to wedge in a boxy appliance for the next 6 months. I truly don’t want to be that person, but when I think of things to do with my day, this never happens – “I know. I will rearrange all of my closets, reorganizing everything by category with pin neat labels, dated pin neat labels, and then I will do my taxes, and then I will groom the dogs, prune the herb plants, bleach kitchen towels, finally begin learning Russian, help a frail woman across the street, and run four miles, reciting uplifting, edifying poetry the whole time.”
It goes more like, “I want to run a hot bath, and bring Turgenyev, and put good smelling things in my hair, and hug the dogs unto me while watching obscure British television about class consciousness, and then I will just visit one little website I like, which will spiderweb, leapfrog into about 37 random websites. And then make peach ice cream.”
Since it was my day off, that’s precisely what I did.
The inspiration to make peach ice cream stemmed from the lacerating cold – tromping off the year’s first real snow, I wanted a taste of summer. A jar of peach preserves hid in the back of the cabinet waiting for the heart of winter.
I remembered buying the peaches, persuaded against my price tag reluctance by the farmer who said, “No one really needs peaches, but then, you always need peaches.” How can you argue with that? I remembered peeling them, the scent, chopping them, plush in my fingers, cooking them down to syrupy, tenuously pulling hot jars out of the boiling water with tongs, looking forward months to the precise moment of the first taste. And it was lovely. Truly lovely. Then I thought, “But I can conjure up more summer than this.” So on my day off, I thought – “Yes, of course, yes to peach ice cream, but how about also almond shortbread cookies? And then I will turn them into a cake.”
Maybe the closets will get done someday soon.
Peach Ice Cream
2 cups half and half
3/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean
3/4 cup peach preserves OR
2 lbs peaches, peeled and medium diced
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
If using fresh peaches, mix peaches, sugar, and lemon juice in a large bowl for a couple of hours. Pour mixture into a blender and puree.
Heat the half and half to just steaming. Whisk eggs and sugar together. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs in a slow steady stream, whisking continually. Return mixture to pot. Heat on medium until beginning to thicken, about 6 minutes or 170 degrees, whisking constantly. Take off heat immediately. Strain through fine mesh strainer.
Stir in vanilla. Stir in 3/4 of the peach puree or 3/4 cup peach preserves, reserving some for sauce. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the custard. Let cool until chilled, at least 3 hours.
Almond Short Bread Crust
You could get by with a graham cracker crust, but I really wanted short bread, and commercial cookies have HFCS, so…
about 2 dozen cookies
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp almond extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
heavy pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter
Mix together flour and salt and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and sugar granules are almost indistinguishable to the touch. Add eggs, one at a time. Add almond extract. Fold in flour. Chill thoroughly. Roll out to 1/4″ thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. The cookies have no little leavener, so they will not spread much. They can be placed within a 1/2″ of each other. Place scraps on another sheet and bake (these will be your crust). Bake at 375 about 10 minutes or until golden.
Crush the cookie scraps in a bag with rolling pin or in a food processor until crumbs. You will need 1 1/3 cups crumbs, so you may have to crush some of the cut cookies. Mix with 1/3 cup sugar, tsp cinnamon, and 4 tablespoons melted butter until a uniform mixture is achieved. Press into the bottom of a springform pan and bake for 10 minutes at 375 or until golden brown.
Set aside to cool while you process the ice cream. Process the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As soon as the ice cream is churned and still soft, spread into the springform pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 3-4 hours until firm.
Cut into slices and top with peach puree, peach preserves, or heavy cream whipped with a little powdered sugar, or some combination thereof.
If you can limit yourself to one slice a sitting, well you’re a better person than I am.
p.s. in unrelated news – my favorite recent bizarro search term leading someone to my site – “how to oil can goathorn banana peppers” WTF???