I don’t know if it’s out of boredom, or old age, or an unrelenting pursuit of gluttony, but lately I’ve grown to absolutely love certain foods that up until recently, never quite tickled my fancy.
Things like blueberries. And pie. And blueberry pie.
…And crumbles. And cobblers. And crisps.
Really, I’ve grown to love any and all dessert in which plump and juicy roasted fruit is the star of the show.
I know, I know. This is a borderline blasphemous confession considering the extent to which I’ve complained about fruit in such dramatic fashion over the years on this blog. Like this time. Or that time.
But for the past few summers, I’ve been growing fonder and fonder of fruit (and specifically, fruit desserts) and I can’t explain why. Maybe it’s because I’m finally starting to learn when and where to buy the best fruit locality to maximize flavor. Or maybe it’s because of all those amazing homemade fruit pies and cakes Tux over at Brooklyn Homemaker is always using to infiltrate my foodie subconscious. Or, maybe it’s because, after years of living in a world defined only by chocolate, I’ve finally mustered enough courage to further expand my dessert horizons (and consequently, my waistline).
One fruit that I’ve fallen in love with this summer is the mighty yet humble peach, but I’ll be the first to admit that we didn’t always have such a great relationship.
Like most fruit that I encountered, I was always quite suspicious of peaches growing up. The fuzzy outside reminded me of mold, and I always found the overall taste to be somewhat lackluster. But then recently it dawned on me: it’s because, in all my years on this planet, I’d never had a really good peach.
The kind that’s fragrant and ripe and beautiful, and when you bite into it the juices dribble down your chin and make your face all sticky but you just don’t care because this peach is the most glorious piece of fruit you’ve ever experienced and you’re questioning how you’ve lived 29 years of your life in sheer ignorance, and now you’re ready to make up for lost time so you spend an entire weekend eating ALL THE PEACHES and get an awful stomach ache but you don’t care because life is GLORIOUS and nothing else matters but you and the peaches and maybe your sweatpants.
You know…that kind of peach.
My profound moment of Peach Clarity happened a few weeks ago when my husband brought home a massive box of peaches from this adorable vendor called The Peach Truck, which carries real Georgia peaches and pecans, and generously makes them accessible to folks like me in the more northern, peach-starved part of the U.S. by making surprise trips to Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana throughout the summer.
I’ve never been to Georgia, nor have I ever really spent much time south of say, North Carolina, but I’ve always fancied myself a southern belle at heart. Truly, my greatest ambition in life is to secure a home with a sufficiently picturesque wrap-around porch upon which I can sit and drink sweet tea in a yellow sundress, basking in the glory of all that is slow and simple and wonderful.
These Peach Truck peaches are the closest I’ve ever been to living that dream.
I bit into one of these peaches on a hot summer day, and it was love at first bite. I’d never experienced anything quite like it. Fragrant, juicy, perfectly sweet. Before I knew it, I’d eaten five peaches, and started dreaming of the peach ice cream I’d no doubt be making that evening.
The only problem?
I’ve never liked peach ice cream. This can partly be attributed to 1) my disdain for fruit-flavored ice creams in general and 2) my mom’s seeming obsession with peach-flavored Yoplait, which for some reason was the only flavor of yogurt she would ever buy, even though I begged her every single week to buy me strawberry Go-Gurt, which is what all the cool kids packed in their lunches. After all this emotional trauma, I decided from that moment that I didn’t need any more peach-flavored dairy in my life.
But then, enter these beautiful peaches, and I just had to give peach ice cream a second chance.
I made a batch where I incorporated the peaches throughout the ice cream by way of a puree, and you guys, I really didn’t love it. At all. The juicy peach flavor was masked by all the heavy cream and eggs, and I was really bored with the texture. The result can be seen below – pretty color, but devoid of any personality whatsoever.
So, for my second try, I did my favorite thing and I made the ice cream version of a classic comfort food. This time it was none other than -you guessed it!- the infamous peach crumble. I abandoned my egg ambitions and instead made an eggless base with double the vanilla to really emulate the “crumble a la mode” flavor. Then, I made a quick and delicious peach jam by roasting peaches in the oven with some vanilla extract and just a little sugar. The finishing touch? A buttery crumble that comes together in a snap and tastes like honest to goodness pie crust.
This ice cream is comforting, summery, and delicious. It’s the perfect end to a hot summer day (although I’ll admit I also ate this ice cream for breakfast some mornings, too).
Now, if only I had that perfect wrap around porch…
What’s your favorite way to eat your summer peach haul?
Buttermilk Peach Crumble Ice Cream
Yield: 1 Quart
For the Ice Cream Base:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup whole milk, plus 2 tablespoons
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Pinch of kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup buttermilk
For the Roasted Peach Jam:
3 ripe peaches, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar (or to taste, depending on sweetness of peaches)
For the Crumble:
1.5 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 and 1/2 sticks of chilled butter
Make the Ice Cream Base:
- In a medium bowl, mix two tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and salt, then bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 4 minutes.
- After 4 minutes, remove the milk mixture from heat and gradually mix into your cornstarch and milk mixture that you made in Step 1. Add combined mixture back to the saucepan, and cook over medium high heat for about 1 minute, or until thickened and the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and cream cheese. Once cream cheese is completely incorporated, allow to cool slightly (15 minutes or so). Then, add the buttermilk, move to an airtight storage container, and store in the fridge overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
Make the Roasted Peach Jam:
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a glass baking dish, combine peaches, sugar, and vanilla extract. Roast in preheated oven until juices are bubbly and start to evaporate (about 30 minutes). Stir every so often.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for 1 week or until you need it for your ice cream.
Make the Crumble:
- Preheat oven to 350 and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients except butter.
- With your hands or a pastry cutter, work butter into the rest of the ingredients until it starts to look crumbly, like pie topping.
- Spread on baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely; store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Put it all together:
- Remove the ice cream base from your fridge and freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- As you move your churned ice cream into your storage container, swirl with generous globs of peach jam, and top each layer with a handful of crumbles.
- Freeze overnight until hardened (or for at least 6 hours).