The peach season in the Gulf region is starting to wind-down. Soon I will miss the treat of being able to make a trip to the farmers market every weekend for fresh peaches. *Sad* In fact, there is somewhat of a lull in produce at this time of the summer in the South. Hot, sticky, and not great for growing. I am looking forward to the fall when new produce will fill up the stands. Luckily, some of you out there still have peaches for a month or two.
I have to admit, I have jumped fully on the "buy local" bandwagon. I try not to be crazy rigid about it, but I really like the idea of supporting local farmers. Every once in a while, when I want to make something special and the produce is not in season I will buy non-local. *Gasp* Yes, the world will survive and my tummy will be well fed.
Recently, through Twitter, I was introduced to Frog Hollow Farms, an organic farm and bakery located in the San Francisco Bay area. They specialize in growing peaches and other stone fruit. Recently I received a shipment of their finest peaches, and I have to say that it was worth eating non-local. I love my local peaches, but when they are not in season Frog Hollow Farm provides some beauties and I still support a small farm. I used this month's shipment to make the recipe below, full of peachy flavor. Enjoy!
I recently discovered that peach pits are a great way to flavor milk or cream, thanks to a twitter conversation with @theBraveTart. The flavor is subtle and heightens the flavor of the peach swirl. You will notice that the recipe calls for several more peach pits than peaches, so start saving! Store pits in the refrigerator in a sealable container until you are ready to use.
2 cups whole milk, divided
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup cane sugar
1/8 cup corn syrup
10 peach pits
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 ½ oz. cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup peach swirl (see below)
Warm 1 cup milk, cream sugar, corn syrup, and peach pits in a medium saucepan. Once warm (do not boil) remove from heat, cover and let steep at room temperature for one hour. When steeping is almost complete, fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth.
After steeping is complete, return to medium heat. Add remaining milk and begin rewarming. Bring milk mixture to a boil. Cook until the sugar dissolves, 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and off heat gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (draw a line on a spoon), about 1 minute. Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth (well except the peach pits). Pour the mixture into a gallon bag, seal tightly, and set baggie in the ice water bath, cover with some ice, and let stand until cold, about 20 minutes or longer.
Once ice cream base is chilled, strain through a sieve to remove peach pits. Pour ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon a small layer of peach swirl into a plastic container (or other container for ice cream) and lightly spoon a layer of ice cream on top. Continue to alternate layers of fruit swirl and ice cream until the container is full.
Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream (to prevent ice crystals) and close with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
1/2 pound peaches, skinned and cubed
1/3 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine peaches and sugar in a glass baking dish. Toss to coat peaches in sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until juice begins to thicken and tops of peaches start to slightly roast. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate and cool completely before adding to ice cream.
Disclosure: Frog Hollow Farms sent me a complimentary box of peaches.