It's the name of a town, but it's also the name of a nut.

One more reason not to like our buyers: because of all the madness, I have not yet had the opportunity to bust out the ice cream maker.

I mean, it’s the last week of June already! One-third of the summer is gone, and all I’ve done is line Haagen Dasz’s pockets. UNCOOL. Strawberry season is practically gone, and I was seriously deficient in butterfat at my last checkup.

millions of peaches

My efforts were further stymied by the dogs, who took out the bag of peaches bought with ice cream-making designs. See, we thought we’d put up a gate blocking the front hall of the new loft for occasional dog segregation purposes. They’ve spent the past six years passing their days in an empty hallway blocked off with a gate, so you’d think having access to an entire loft to hang out in – there are SEVEN unique upholstered surfaces on which to sleep, not counting their own bed – would be a step up the ladder.

I guess leaving my laptop on the coffee table during the day was a bad idea, because they seem to have researched Brown v. Board of Education and feel VERY VERY STRONGLY that a human-only front hall, even one only occasionally enforced, is incredibly offensive. I tried explaining that (1) the front hall is not a public space; (2) this apartment does not have its own constitution and (3) THEY ARE DOGS, but despite my reasoned discourse they’ve launched a full-scale gate offensive.

roasty

TNS dog mayhem is a zero-sum proposition. Either they are perfectly behaved all day and nothing is ruined, or they go total berserker. So on the first day of Project Front Hall Freedom, several cardboard boxes were also liberated from a utility closet and six ripening peaches were selflessly emancipated from their brown paper bag countertop prison. Sadly, two then fell prey to friendly fire and were abandoned partially mauled because Felix does not like slimy and/or fuzzy foods.

(I should mention that when I say “they” go berserker, I mean “Felix goes berserker.” Chester merely watches the descent into entropy, then gets incredibly nervous about it and stress-poops on the floor. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving.)

chillax

Later in the week I bought more peaches from the bodega around the corner where the fruit is always just on the verge of over-ripening and is thus uber juicy and sweet. The plan: roasted peach and creme fraîche ice cream. If you’re gonna wait this long for homemade ice cream, you better start with a bang; am I right?

shooting some b-ball outside by the school

I sliced up four peaches, tossed them with some brown sugar and a little lemon juice and roasted them off in the oven. Once they cooled down a bit, I pureed them in the FoPro and set the puree aside to cool some more while I made a simple ice cream base of heavy cream, a bit more sugar and egg yolks.

Note that I did think briefly about peeling the peaches first. Then I thought about the peeling process – the slicing of the “x,” the boiling water, the shocking – and about all the other things I could use that time for, things like eating aged gouda with honey and rosemary crackers while watching Olympic swimming trials and scheming about how to convince Brian to let me paint the new kitchen chairs a high-gloss hot pink. That seemed like time more profitably spent and besides, I strained the peach puree anyway.

Seriously, those pink chairs would pop like nobody’s business.

churn, churn, churn

I stirred the peach puree and egg-thickened ice cream base together and left it over the ice bath a bit longer before whisking in a cup of creme fraîche and dumping the whole lot into the ice cream machine.

Make no mistake: I love my on-board compressor ice cream machine, which can keep churning out batches of ice cream with no need for re-freezing or, heaven forfend, hand cranking. I mean, what are we, pioneers? But I do miss the fact that my old frozen-bowl Cuisinart had an opening in the top big enough to stick a spoon into. You know, for testing purposes. Let it be known that I did not abuse that privilege, and if I did it was totally the ice cream’s fault for leading me on. WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO DELICIOUS, ICE CREAM?

don't be so sensitive

Since I had to occupy forty whole minutes before being able to eat ice cream, I thought I’d make a crunchy topper. Pine nut brittle with thyme and salt? Sure!

There are two basic kinds of brittle recipe: the one with butter, known as “brittle,” and the one without butter, known as “Why bother?” I’ll let you guess which one I made.

scooper dooper

I did let the ice cream chill in the freezer for a while before eating, just to firm up the texture.

Just so you know, I almost didn’t write this post because I got completely distracted by a movie on the SyFy channel called “Mega Python v. Gatoroid” starring Debbie Gibson and Tiffany. A few thoughts:

  1. Seriously?
  2. I’m glad Tiffany is getting work.
  3. But really, seriously?
  4. I hope no one invested more than $75 dollars to get this made.
  5. Possibly this is a harbinger of the apocalypse.
  6. Holy shit.

Eventually, I had to turn it off because the scene of Mega Python sucking down someone’s pet dog was just too upsetting. Also, the alligators were angry because of the Mega Pythons decimating their population and NOT because of their severe hemorrhoids, as the title led me to believe.

dessert

You should be sitting down now, because I’m about to reveal something that will rock you to your very core: roasted peach and creme fraîche ice cream is excellent. Not too sweet, and with a lovely balance between the tartness of the creme and the natural sweetness of the roasting-enhanced fruit. It’s peaches-n-cream ice cream all grown up. The brittle, in addition to adding texture, has a savory edge that adds a nice complexity.

I have extra heavy cream, creme fraîche and eggs, so the ol’ Lello Gelato  4070 can look forward to making up for lost time.

(Also: Whoa, I get wordy when I don’t write for a while! Sorry about that!)

Roasted Peach and Creme Fraîche Ice Cream
4 ripe peaches
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. creme fraîche

Preheat your oven to 375.

Cut the peaches in half, remove the pits and cut each half into four slices. Toss the cut peaches with the brown sugar and lemon juice until well coated. Dump into a baking pan and roast for 15 minutes until nice and tender. Set aside to cool. When the peaches are room temp, whiz ‘em up good in the FoPro (along with any juices that accumulate during roasting) and run the resulting puree through a strainer. Set the peach puree over an ice bath to stay cold.

Heat the heavy cream and granulated sugar over medium heat. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. When the cream is barely simmering, choose your own adventure:

  1. Gradually pour the yolks into the pan with the hot cream, whisking constantly. This is the gutsier (and time-saving) move.
  2. Pour a third of the hot cream into the yolks, whisking constantly, to temper them. Pour the eggs back into the pan with the rest of the cream slowly, still whisking constantly.

Keep the cream and eggs on the stove, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Pour the thickened mix through a strainer into the peach puree. Stir to combine, then leave over the ice bath until nice and cold (or stash in the fridge).

Just before pouring the mix into your ice cream machine, whisk in the vanilla and creme fraîche.

Freeze as directed by your ice cream machine’s manufacturer. Transfer the finished ice cream to a container and freeze for at least 4 more hours.

Sweet & Savory Pine Nut Brittle
with thanks to Food52 and Gina DePalma
2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tbsp. honey
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 c. pine nuts

Line a baking sheet with a silpat or with parchment coated with butter.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, honey and butter in a good-size saucepan over medium heat and clip on a candy thermometer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is a rich brown and reaches 350 degrees; it will bubble up quite a lot, which is why you need an oversized pan.

(If you’re still feeling gutsy from making the ice cream without tempering the eggs, you could do this without a thermometer and just go by color.)

When it hits 350, turn the heat down to low and add the thyme and one teaspoon of the salt and stir – it’ll spit a little. Cook for 2 more minutes.

Take the pan off the heat. Stir in the nuts, making sure they’re all coated with candy. Pour the hot brittle onto the baking sheet, spread it into an even layer and sprinkle over the remaining teaspoon of salt.

Let sit out until cool and hard, then break up into chucks and chow down. Store in tupperware for a week or two.

16 thoughts on “It's the name of a town, but it's also the name of a nut.

  1. That looks amazing. Ice cream was made in our house yesterday, by my oldest son on his 18th birthday. He chose to make ginger ice cream, which is soooo delicious, and can be surprisingly hot (as in spicy)… We have the old-fashioned hand crank machine that needs to be in the freezer for a while so our next batch may be more than a day away. I’m thinking roasted peach might be good for the next round….Looking forward to seeing what you come up with next.

  2. This looks amazing, but the brittle just puts it over the top. If I didn’t already have two quarts of ice cream taking up valuable freezer space, this would be on the menu today. I overdid it at the weekend market and walked away with an ass-load of stone fruit, which will be grilled this afternoon if I don’t burst into flames along with the charcoal.

  3. I too have been neglecting my ice cream maker, which is not to say I’ve been neglecting ice cream. This may be exactly the kick in the ass I need.

  4. Just kill me now. It’s 104 degrees here today. May I please have enough of that ice cream in which to take a bath?

    ps — Glad yer back. Missed ya.

  5. love wordy, no need to apologize! the ice cream looks divine, it’s been awhile since i’ve used my ice cream maker, perhaps it’s time.

  6. @susan, ooh, LOVE ginger ice cream. and you can add so many secondary flavors to it…yum.

    @amy, 2 thoughts:

    1. it’s 7 zillion degrees out. why is your freezer full of ice cream when you could be drinking boozy milkshakes?

    2. why bother to grill them? just leave them on the porch for 30 seconds.

    @kayb, and i you.

  7. Mr. B just informed me that although ripe fruit is awesome, your dogs should have waited till you got done, and taken out the ice cream instead. Mr. B is a furry criminal mastermind when it comes to frozen confections.

  8. see, this is awesome. we just got an ice cream maker and NOW I HAVE GOALS.

    (also: you are (hopefully) gonna love (enjoy) five points, the movie about the revenge of the roadkill on the person who squashed them. featuring puppet zombie squirrel brigade and an existential bunny.)

  9. The least the dogs could’ve done is actually eaten the peaches, after all that!

    I am an ice cream fan from way back so will be noting this down for when peaches are back in season here.

    In the meantime, so long as I’ve got a keen eye for caramelised-sugar-hue, there’s nothing stopping me from making the brittle. Since I LOVE brittle.

    PS: Hooray for Best in Show references.
    PSS or PPS or whatever: Had to google Mega Python vs Gatoroid since it didn’t sound plausibly real. Shoulda trusted you! Still can’t quite get my head around it though…

  10. As much as I love a good chocolate or coffee ice cream, there is nothing better than a fruit version in my opinion. Strawberry is my all-time have, but my guess is that this lovely would not be far behind. Luscious!

  11. Well, in my experience, dogs really just love peaches. My black lab, Penny, once lurked quietly outside my kitchen while I made a fresh peach cobbler with home made sugared and buttered pie strips on top until it was finished. I was covered with peach crap and butter and flour, so I went down the hall to take a shower. I swear the cobbler was cooling safely on top of the fridge, and Penny was nowhere to be found, or I would have let her out in the backyard for a bit. When I got back to the kitchen, there was no more cobbler; and Penny was wearing the 10 by 16 inch pan as a hat! I was pissed, but my husband was inconsolable. Dave sure loved that dog, but he loved my cobbler more. The next time I made peach cobbler, Dave took Penny to Doggy Day Care to play with his friends. Live and learn.

  12. @annie, puppet zombie squirrel brigade, you say? interesting, that was also the name of an emo latin fusion band i founded in the 90s.

    @hungryandfrozen, right?! i would have been less pissed if they had just eaten the damn things. also, bonus points for catching the BiS reference, but minus two for not believing me about tiffany and gatoroid. as though my imagination is that fertile.

    @oui, chef, incorrect; chocolate-peanut butter is the best of all possible ice creams.

    @junecutie, maybe my dogs would like peaches more if they had them in pie or cobbler form, but i’m not about to try and find out.

  13. Made. Ate. Swooned. Love the sour flavor.
    A few decades ago, when you may still have been a twinkle in some fella’s eye, Carvel put out a frozen yogurt that was pleasingly tart and pleasingly addicting. I’ve mourned the short life of that offering. Recently there was a brand in our local Kroger called Tart which came close to easing the pain of that loss. Alas, it too was short-lived (here in Blandland, at least). TNS has made me a happy girl. This ice cream is very nice. It does not mimic the lost flavors for which I have pined, but introduces a more subtle and sophisticated flavor. Be prepared, folks, for a very sensuous midnight-mouthfeel, though. You may end up feeling you should send Michelle a c-note and a request for a weekly visit.

    Having just slammed back to earth, I have a quick question. Not having made ice cream but once before and being unfamiliar with the latitude of the liquid additions, I wondered about the amount of liquid produced by the roasted peaches. Considering that it can vary a bit, would you add all of the liquid along with the peaches into the whirring magical puree machine?

  14. @ieatsigrins, hooray, glad you liked it! sorry for not being more clear in the instructions – i added all the liquid from the roasted fruit to the puree.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s