Summertime is a great time to make homemade ice cream using ripe fresh fruit in season. Peach ice cream is one of my favorite flavors. I grew up in a family with an old-fashioned, hand-cranked ice cream churner and I watched as my mother mixed up many varieties. Here’s one of my favorite recipes for custard ice cream using a small electric ice cream maker and a healthy low-fat variation supplied by a friend.
Growing Up with Homemade Ice Cream
Ice cream must have been my mother’s favorite dessert, because the hand-cranked ice cream churner was always put to use when company came over or when family was visiting. Here are grandchildren eager to sample the ice cream.
Everyone took a turn at cranking the machine—because it takes alot of elbow grease and time to churn homemade ice cream with a hand-cranked machine. My mother made many varieties — peach and cherry were summer favorites.
When my brother and I were cleaning out 60 years of collected “stuff” of my parent’s home for the estate sale–my parents never threw anything away–my brother decided to make a batch of ice cream. He prepared the ice cream custard and got ready to start the ice cream machine (then it was an electric one). Alas, the machine was missing a part. He went down into the basement, rummaged around and found another ice cream machine. This one had the correct part and he got started churning the ice cream. But the machine conked out part way through. He returned to the basement and found yet a third ice cream maker. This time, success, and we enjoyed the ice cream. Lucky we tried all the ice cream machines out and didn’t sell broken ones at the estate sale! Here’s a grandson with one of those ice cream makers.
Growing up in Rural Louisiana in the 1960’s
Peaches are grown in the northern part of Louisiana around Ruston, Louisiana. My friend, Alice, grew up in the area. Here’s what she says about beating the heat and peach ice cream when she was a child in the 1960’s in Louisiana.
When my uncle’s family, from out of state, came to my grandmother’s house in north Louisiana, my cousins and I ate cold watermelons outside and then got hosed down with water so we weren’t so sticky. The water was welcomed because it was 90-100 degrees in July. Most of their house was air conditioned, but it was freezing inside with our summer clothes on. We would go inside for just a few minutes to cool off and then we went outside again to play. Getting a blast of air conditioning was like swimming and coming up for air. Also, Grandma Julia’s children and their spouses would make gallons of fresh peach ice cream. I didn’t know that there was another flavor of homemade ice cream for a long time. Grandma’s home was north of Ruston, the Peach Capital of Louisiana.
Custard Ice Cream
There are many recipes for homemade ice cream; custard ice cream is still my favorite. It uses eggs to thicken the ice cream mix and is a cooked custard. It is rich and creamy. Here are the ingredients My Cuisinart electric ice cream maker makes a small batch — it is plenty for one meal and homemade ice cream is best when eaten the day is made. I add a little vanilla extract to the peach ice cream custard to enhance the flavor.
Reducing Fat in Ice Cream
The milk in ice cream provides protein, calcium, riboflavin and Vitamin D. Alas, the fat and sugar results in a high-calorie dessert and the heavy cream provides cholesterol and saturated fat. I’ve reduced the fat content by using low-fat milk and half-and-half in place of heavy cream. This also reduces the calories. Alice suggests reducing the fat further by using skim milk and evaporated skim milk in place of cream. Her version has 90 calories per cup of ice cream.
Making the Ice Cream
Here are some suggestions for making the peach custard ice cream.
- Use very ripe, juicy fruit. Peaches ripen if let to set at room air for several days. Add a banana or apple to add ethylene gas. Then the peaches become juicy and sweet. Use immediately at this point as ripe fruit spoils very quickly. I used a potato ricer to mash the peaches.
- My recipe for cooked custard uses just the egg yolks. Cook the custard over medium-low heat until it begins to thicken and don’t let it boil. This may 5 minutes or longer. Stir constantly so the mix doesn’t stick to the pan and curdle. Remove from heat and chill.
- Chill the custard before pouring into the ice cream maker. I set the custard over a bowl of ice water because I’m always in a hurry. Then add the pureed peaches, half-and-half and vanilla extract.
There are many brands and types of ice cream makers. The Cuisinart maker is unique because the bowl is double-walled with a refrigerant and kept in a freezer until ready to use. The machine doesn’t require ice.
I’ve included my recipe for a small batch of peach ice cream and Alice’s recipe for low-fat ice cream made in a standard gallon ice cream maker. Alice questions whether or not you should add the entire 1/2 gallon milk and heat to make the custard. I remember my mother making custard ice cream in a very large pot; so I think this was the technique used many years ago. Enjoy.
Homemade Peach Custard Ice Cream by MayleesKitchen
- 3 ripe, large peaches
- 2 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Method and Steps
- Peel, seed and mash the peaches. A potato ricer works well for mashing peaches. Set aside.
- Beat the egg yolks with wire whip until smooth and lemony in color.
- Add the sugar and beat to mix in.
- Pour the low-fat milk to a medium sauce pan and add the egg/sugar mix.
- Heat over medium-low heat. Stir constantly. Cook until the custard begins to steam and thicken. It should coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl and chill in refrigerator or set custard over ice water-bowl and chill.
- When chilled, add peach puree, half-and-half and vanilla extract.
- Pour into ice cream canister and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Angie's Peach Ice Cream by Alice Carroll
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 (13-oz) can of cold, evaporated skim milk, whipped
- 1/2 gallon of skim milk
- 2 cups of fresh peaches, pureed
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
Method and Steps
- Chill the evaporated milk overnight,
- Beat the eggs well, until yellow and thick. Add sugar and beat at high speed until dissolved and thick. Add the 1/2 gallon skim milk.
- Cook over low heat in a double boiler, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken and coat the spoon. remove from heat and cool thoroughly.
- Whip the evaporated milk. Gradually add the whipped evaporated milk, peach puree with lemon juice mixed in, and vanilla to the custard mixture. Stir until mixed.
- Pour into a 5 or 6 quart freezer.
- Follow the manufacturer’s directions for freezing. The optimal ratio of ice to rock salt is 3-6 quarts of chipped ice to 1 cup of course rock salt. Place 1/2 of the ice around the canister. Cover ice with 1/2 of the rock salt. Repeat layers until the container is full.
- Makes 1 gallon, or 25 one-cup servings.