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.
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.
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.)
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?
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.
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?
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.
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:
- I’m glad Tiffany is getting work.
- But really, seriously?
- I hope no one invested more than $75 dollars to get this made.
- Possibly this is a harbinger of the apocalypse.
- 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.
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:
- Gradually pour the yolks into the pan with the hot cream, whisking constantly. This is the gutsier (and time-saving) move.
- 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.