So, I deviated from my meal plan. I’m sorry but I had to. You know how on Wednesday I was planning to make raspberry ripple ice cream? Well I saw some delicious looking last-of-the-season peaches and I had to snap them up. I figured I’d adapt my recipe and make vanilla ice cream – something that despite having quite a varied ice cream repertoire, I can’t remember ever making before. I topped it off with said peaches rolled in brown sugar and flambéed in bourbon. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but it was pretty top. What can beat a delicious, boozy ice cream sundae to send off summer? Made for eating on a patio wrapped in a waffle knit blanket as the sun ducks down behind the trees. Because it’s autumn now, you know.
My peaches were pretty wrinkly by time of consumption. Personally, I think that’s ok, as we’re cooking them down a little so they lose a bit of firmness anyhow. You could use tinned peaches for this too, in a pinch. I kinda like tinned peaches. I don’t mind leaving the skins on mine, mainly because it’s a faff to take them off, but if you’re a texture stickler, feel free to free those guys from their jackets.
For the ice cream, I used the same method that I used for my Yorkshire Tea Ice Cream recipe, but obviously skipped the part where we infused the tea. I was watching The Mind of a Chef (season one) the other night and that told me that this is a traditional “creme anglais” base, which I guess makes sense. It’s basically equal parts milk and cream, and then a shit-tonne of egg yolks. It’s very rich and kinda eggy – but that suits me down to the ground. I don’t have much of an inclination towards volume when it comes to ice cream, usually it’s just a scoop or two, so I need it to be super satisfying.
When it comes to vanilla, as with a lot of ingredients, you get out what you put in. Essence is a hell no, it’s the cheap, synthetic stuff that contains little actual vanilla. Extract is good, even better is vanilla bean paste or an actual vanilla pod, if you could get your hands on that. Trust me, if you have the money, spend it. A bottle of extract or paste lasts for a long time in your cupboard and you can use it in countless recipes – paying for quality will pay off in your baking. Plus, you get the satisfaction of seeing the little vanilla seeds in whatever you make. I’m easily pleased like that.
I’m relatively confident when it comes to cooking with alcohol in savoury dishes, but I’m a bit hazy on sweet stuff. I guessed the amount of alcohol to cook the peaches in, and it seemed to work well, they were neither too strong or too bland. You can, of course, tailor the alcohol level to suit your tastes. I used a slug of my old favourite from back in my student days, Jim Beam. I love that guy. He’s always there.
You can use something fancier if you like, you could also try rum or brandy, or even a bit of Cointreau if you’re feeling frisky. The process is short, which nicely balances the long slog of the ice cream preparation. Eat them all or save some in a sterilised jar. As time goes by the texture will breakdown a bit more and it’ll turn into a lovely boozy compote.
You can be as posh as you like with it. Layer the ice cream and peaches in a tall glass for that ice cream sundae look, or just dump ’em in a bowl and tuck in. Now that I’ve tried it out, I might revive it next summer with an added layer of damson or raspberry jam and a few crushed and salted pecans.
- 1 Cup of Whole Milk
- 2 Cups of Double Cream
- ⅔ Cup of Golden Caster Sugar
- 5 Egg Yolks
- 1 Vanilla Pod (Or 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract)
- 4 Ripe Peaches
- 1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- ½ Cup of Light Brown Sugar
- 2 Shots of Jim Beam Bourbon
- The day before you want to eat your ice cream, heat your milk and cream in a medium sized saucepan over a low heat. Whisk in the sugar. When the milk is steaming (don't let it boil), take the pan off the heat and scrape in the contents of your vanilla pod and stir through.
- Leave the mixture off the heat while you separate your eggs. Whisk the yolks in a medium bowl. Spoon a little of the milk into your egg mix, whisking quickly to incorporate. Add a little more of the milk mix a few spoonfuls at a time until about half is mixed through. Add the rest and give it a good whisk.
- Transfer to the pan and place back on the heat. You need to stay with it, stirring constantly over a medium heat, scraping the sides, until the mixture thickens into a custard and coats the back of a spoon – if in doubt, stick with it, it may take 10-15 minutes, but you’ll know when it starts to thicken properly.
- When it's reached the right consistency, strain the custard through a sieve to remove any lumps and place in the fridge to cool. It needs at least 4-6 hours to get to the right temperature. I prefer to leave it overnight and churn the next morning.
- Churn and freeze the mix according to your ice cream maker’s instructions – I churned once and transferred to a clip top tupperware container. Place it back into the freezer for 2-3 hours to firm up.
- When you're ready to make your peaches, remove the ice cream from the freezer. It'll take 15-20 minutes to melt enough to scoop cleanly. Chop each peach into eight segments and roll them in the brown sugar.
- Heat the butter in a large frying pan until it's frothy. Throw in your peach segments and cook for 4-5 minutes until the sugar starts to caramelise and the peaches turn golden. Pour in the bourbon and toss. The liquid will start to reduce and turn into a stickier consistency. When it's reduced by half, turn off the heat.
- Time to plate up! I scooped some ice cream into the bottom of a tall glass, followed it with 4 or 5 peach segments and a little sauce. Next, more ice cream, more peaches and a dusting of brown sugar. Take your spot on the patio and enjoy!
- nb. If you taste your custard before you churn it, it’s going to be very sweet, very creamy and very eggy. Don’t let this worry you. The freezer dulls its flavour, so think about how sweet you want it to be as a finished product, and turn it up by half again.
How are you sending off summer? Let me know whether the turn of the season has you clinging on to summer with white knuckles, or if you’re embracing the colder, darker nights already. I think I’m a little of both!