Okay. I am going to try and keep this short and sweet, which shouldn’t be super hard, as the name of this ice cream says it all. Fresh peaches (with the skin on) are roasted in a high oven with brown sugar and butter, pureed (with a bit of peach jam, if your peaches are not the most flavorful), and chilled. A brown sugar custard is made, the two are combined and poured into your ice cream maker and, voila: roasted peach ice cream. so good and, yes, so easy.
Now, the reason this ice cream is peach, is twofold. One, it is peach season and making sweets with peaches seemed only appropriate (there’s a peach crumble recipe coming soon). And two, the first homemade ice cream I ever had was peach and I have never forgotten it. As you may already know, if you’ve read a post or two of mine, I did not grow up in a home where a lot of/any homemade treats were made or consumed. Suffice it to say, we most certainly did not have an ice cream maker. But at a friend’s house one summer afternoon, when I was maybe 10 or 11, we took turns churning, and then ate — right out of the old-fashioned slatted-wood container — the most delicious and dreamy and creamy of peach treats. No surprise, really, that the memory stuck.
Interestingly enough, however, despite the fact that I still recall the flavor, color, texture, etc. of that ice cream, I never, I mean never, order peach ice cream when given the opportunity. Perhaps it’s because I don’t want to cloud the memory of my first bowl — who knows? So when I set out to develop my own recipe for peach dreaminess, I was going on food memory alone for what I wanted it to taste like. I knew I would use my go-to custard recipe, featured in my strawberry ice cream and currant ice cream, and I knew I wanted lots of brown sugar and vanilla to meld with all my ice cream’s peachiness. My research revealed that there are many peach ice cream-making camps: Those that cook the peaches on the stove-top, and those that don’t. Those that puree the peaches (cooked or uncooked), and those that don’t. And those that roast the peaches (and those that don’t). Needless to say, I’m in the roasting camp.
Roasting caramelizes the peaches and intensifies their flavor, and since I was on a brown sugar and peach kick, anyway, the roasting only served to heighten the burnt sugar/caramel thing I was after. Moreover, iIm not going to lie, my peaches were just the tiniest bit past prime, and I thought roasting seemed like the perfect thing to do with them in such a state. I wasn’t wrong. Perhaps you order peach ice cream every time you hit the ice cream store, and maybe I will start to do so, too. If you do try making it at home, please consider eating it straight from the container. Kind of the best way ever.
Roasted Peach Ice Cream
For the roasted peaches
- 3 to 4 cups of roughly chopped peaches with the skin on
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp light brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- peach jam/preserves optional
for the brown sugar custard
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cups light brown sugar divided (you can sub granulated for some of the brown, if you want less of a carmel-y flavor)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 yolks
To roast the peaches
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the peaches, butter, brown sugar, and salt in a 13x9x2-inch pan and roast the peaches for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan after 10, and moving the peaches around a bit with a spatula. Ideally, the peach chunks will be lightly browned at the edges, but will not have completely collapsed.
- Let the peaches cool slightly, and puree in a blender. I like to leave mine slightly chunky. At this point, taste the puree. If it does not taste peachy enough to you, add a Tbsp of peach jam/preserves, and puree again. Continue doing this, tasting and adding a Tbsp of jam/puree, until the puree is as peachy as you would like. Remember, the flavor gets diluted when added to the custard and again when frozen. A little too peachy is probably a good thing. Place the puree in a small bowl and in the refrigerator to chill.
To make the brown sugar custard
- Whisk the milk, cream, vanilla, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar (if you used a fair amount of the jam/preserves to amp up your peach flavor, use a Tbsp or two less), and salt in a heavy bottomed large saucepan. simmer the mixture over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, whisk the yolks, and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar until frothy. Once the milk mixture simmers, temper the yolk mixture, by adding a little of the warm milk/cream to the yolks and whisking. Continue adding the milk/cream to the yolks, a little at a time, until the temperature of the yolks rises. Then, whisking constantly, pour the tempered yolks into the saucepan of milk/cream on the stove. Stir the custard constantly with a wooden spoon or a heatproof spatula until it thickens slightly and, once coated in custard, your finger leaves a trail on the spoon/spatula. Do not boil.
- Strain the custard (I skipped this step, but straining is a good idea if you are concerned that your yolks may have curdled a bit) into a medium sized bowl and place in the refrigerator until chilled. This can take several hours, and can be sped up by placing the bowl in the freezer. If you do place it in the freezer, stir the mixture periodically to ensure it does not freeze solid. Once chilled, combine the custard with the puree and transfer the peach custard to your ice cream maker, and freeze the custard, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a freezer-proof container and store in the freezer until ready to use (although some of us like it straight from the machine and still a bit soft).