July is National Ice Cream Month and it seems particularly inhospitable of me to not share a single recipe for my favorite summer dessert. True, I’m perfectly content to enjoy ice cream year round, but it does seem to be that much better on a warm summer evening out on the back porch.
Especially when it involves the sweetest, freshest, summer peaches. And brown butter. And bourbon. Heavy on the bourbon.
For some of you, peach season is just drawing to a close. For others, it’s just hitting it’s stride. Either way, this ice cream is one of the best ways I can think of to preserve that perfect peak flavor. Peaches and cream is a classic combination. But when that cream is married with rich brown butter, deep dark brown sugar, and sweet, oaky bourbon, you’ve got yourself just the kind of summer treat that could make an otherwise reserved and well-mannered adult run after an ice cream truck. If the ice cream truck served bourbon, that is.
Rich brown butter, dark brown sugar, and sweet, okay bourbon give ripe summer peaches just the oomph they need in this decidedly adult version of peaches and cream ice cream.
Bourbon Brown Butter Peach Ice Cream
from Garden & Gun, quantities halved for a smaller batch
2 c. whole milk
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. egg yolks (from about 6 eggs)
2 TBSP butter
3/4 c. pecan pieces, plus more for garnish (optional)
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
3/8 c. bourbon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. peeled fresh peaches, cut into small pieces and mashed
1. In a heavy bottom sauce pot, heat together the milk, cream, and granulated sugar until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot to the touch. Do not let the mixture come to a boil.
2. Place egg yolks in a large bowl and temper them by whisking the hot milk mixture in a little at a time. Pour the mixture back into the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard becomes thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the custard from the heat and strain through a fine strainer into a container that will hold at least a half gallon of ice cream. Set aside.
3. In a 2-quart heavy-bottomed sauce pot, combine the butter, pecans (if using), brown sugar, and bourbon. Cook, stirring until the mixture reaches 200° F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and strain the liquid through a fine-meshed strainer into the ice cream custard. Set the pecans aside and keep refrigerated in a separate container. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator for at least two hours, up to overnight.
4. When the ice cream base is sufficiently cooled, freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. When it is nearly frozen, add in peaches and pecans (if using) and freeze completely. Spoon ice cream into a freezer safe container and allow to freeze two hours more before serving.
5. To serve, pull ice cream from freezer and allow to sit out 2-3 minutes to soften enough to scoop. Pour a splash of bourbon on top and sprinkle with additional pecans, if desired. Do not microwave the ice cream as it will become very hard and icy when refrozen.
Yield: one half gallon