Currently cooking out of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer
This is actually about two separate recipes, neither of which are from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream at Homes. Confused? Let me back up a bit.
Bryan and I have a tradition that every year around Labor Day, we drive 10 hours south to my parent’s house, spend a few days oohing and ahhing over nieces and nephew, baking up a storm and gorging on peaches and nectarines. Then we drive 10 hours back north with several boxes of peaches and nectarines, and I spend the next few days frantically freezing, jamming and baking before the fruit goes bad.
I grew up on Utah’s “Fruitway,” a stretch of the Wasatch Front famed for its roadside fruitstands. Every summer I picked raspberries, peaches, tomatoes and cherries and then helped sell them at one of the fruitstands. I loved having such an abundance of fresh fruit, especially the peaches. As much as I tout my chocolate addiction, peaches are one of my favorite foods. I can, and will, eat them until I get sick. Fortunately, my dad owns several acres of peach and nectarine trees, and he lets me have as many as I want.
This year I came back with five boxes and peaches and one box of nectarines. As of the last count, I’ve made 16 peach/nectarine galettes (a free-form pie) and a couple of peach crumble bars, all of which are frozen, waiting to be baked. I made something like 15 jars of peach freezer jam (runny, of course), and I’ve frozen six one-gallon Ziploc bags full of unsweetened sliced peaches. Finally, we made some peach shrub (remember this post?). We will not run out of peaches this year.
Along with all of that, we’ve been eating fresh peaches and yogurt for breakfast, peaches and nectarines for snacks and sliced peaches for dessert.
Back to the reason for this post. With all these peaches and nectarines, I had to try to adapt one of Bauer’s recipes into a peach and/or nectarine ice cream. The nectarines had to be used first, so nectarine ice cream it was.
I simply took Bauer’s ice cream recipe base and added a nectarine puree (except for a roasted strawberry and buttermilk ice cream, she doesn’t have many fruit ice cream recipes, so I kind of winged it). The ice cream is made the same way as all the other ice creams in the book: you boil milk, cream and sugar, add in a cornstarch slurry, boil, whisk in cream cheese, add nectarine puree, chill and churn.
Frankly, I was disappointed in this ice cream. Although it turned out a beautiful, pale yellow, the nectarine flavor is so washed out and faint, that you can’t really identify it. That glorious, sweet/tart nectarine flavor got lost somewhere. This ice cream froze up harder than the other ones I’ve made from this book. My gut feeling is that the extra water from the nectarines watered down the flavor and made the ice cream freeze harder. I suspect that’s why Bauer roasts her strawberries, to concentrate the flavor and evaporate excess water. If I had any extra nectarines left, I’d give this a try. Unfortunately, they are gone. I plan to make a peach ice cream using some of the peaches I’ve frozen,though, so it will be interesting to see what happens. If I run into the same problem, I’ll consider roasting the peaches first.
Onto the other part of this post, that nectarine cake up there. I remembered reading about this cake here, but at the time, the nectarines in the store were sad, hard little blobs. Flash forward two years, and I’m sitting on a half of a box of nectarines that are ripening too fast for me to keep up. A little butter and sugar here, with some eggs and flour there, and I had the little black dresses of cakes. It took me all of 10 minutes to make, but tasted great. You can dress this cake up with whipped cream or ice cream, or simply sprinkle powdered sugar on it. It tasted just as good on the second day. If you don’t have nectarines, I think just about any fruit will work, except maybe apples or pears, unless you sliced them very thinly.