How to Make Homemade Peach Custard Ice Cream
Mmm, Mmm, Good ... Worth the Splurge!
Getting Started: How to Select Fresh Peaches
Great ice cream begins with high-quality ingredients. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that your peaches are ripe and ready for the ice cream churn.
Start With Fresh, Ripe Peaches
Characteristics of a Ripe Peach
A ripe peach has the following qualities:
- Good Background Coloring With No Green: On traditional yellow peach varieties, look for background colors of bright yellow to orange. On white varieties, look for a white to cream background as an indication of a mature fruit. Try to spot any unwanted traces of green along the stem end. However, do not rely on the red blush as an indication of ripeness, as this is simply part of the natural coloring of the peach.
- Feel Tender: Remember that this is a soft juicy peach, not a hard apple! Your peach should have a little bit of give when you press it gently, but it shouldn't be mushy either.
- Smell Sweet: Go ahead—smell it. If the peachy scent is appealing and vivid, this is a great sign!
- Unbruised and Unwrinkled: Peaches are delicate and therefore damage easily. Select peaches that are unbruised, and cut out any damaged spots before eating or using them in recipes. Wrinkled skin is a sign of age. Pass those up.
Is the Peach "Finger Ripe?"
Juicy, delicious peaches are typically in peak season in the United States from June through August. Test a peach's ripeness by very gently holding it between your thumb and middle finger.
Apply subtle pressure using the soft pads of your fingers. If the flesh moves, it is "finger ripe," and you can eat it today or tomorrow. However, if the flesh is still firm, either pass this peach up or wait a few days while it ripens.
Peaches Ripen Faster in a Brown Bag
To facilitate ripening, store your peaches in a paper bag—never plastic—on the kitchen counter until the peaches reach your desired level of softness. Just fold the bag over loosely.
Usually a couple of days should do the trick. Fruit ripens in the presence of ethylene, a naturally-occurring gas in the fruit (which you are trapping in the bag).
Peaches Are Nature's Candy
Ingredients and Instructions
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Ingredients For Homemade Peach Custard Ice Cream
- 1 12-oz. can (354 mL) evaporated milk
- 1 pint (473 mL) half & half milk
- 4 eggs, well beaten
- 1 pint (473 mL) whipping cream
- 2 14-oz. cans (414 mL) sweetened condensed milk, Eagle Brand
- 1 Tablespoon (~15 mL) vanilla extract
- 4 cups (946 mL) ripe, fresh peaches, finely chopped
- Ice cream churn
- 5-pound bag of ice
- Rock salt (not table salt)
This Is Pure Heaven
Instructions: Start With a Cooked Custard
- Prepare the cooked custard approximately one hour in advance of making your ice cream. Over medium heat, mix the first three ingredients (evaporated milk, half & half, and well-beaten eggs) in a saucepan. Use a whisk to stir constantly until hot and slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
- Cover the mixture, and allow it to cool in the refrigerator about an hour.
- While the custard is cooling, finely slice then mash your peaches so they will disperse evenly throughout the ice cream during freezing.
- In a large bowl, combine the whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and the peaches. Stir well, then fold in the cooled custard mixture.
- Pour the mixture into your ice cream freezer unit, adding rock salt and ice outside the metal freezing unit. Begin churning, following the manufacturer's directions for your freezer. Be careful not to allow any of the salty water to enter the metal freezing unit.
- If you take the ice cream out of the metal freezing unit immediately after it is done, it will be the consistency of a thick milkshake. Allow the ice cream to sit a few more minutes before serving if you prefer ice cream with a firmer consistency.
Step One: Prepare the Custard
Prepare the cooked custard by mixing the evaporated milk, half & half, and the eggs in a sauce pan. Use a whisk to stir constantly until hot and slightly thickened. Cover and cool in the refrigerator about an hour.
Step Two: Smash the Peaches
While the custard is cooking, finely slice and then mash your peaches. Failure to cut them up finely enough will make your ice cream taste simply like vanilla ice cream with chunks of peaches—rather than true peach-flavored ice cream.
Step Three: Prepare the Ice Cream Base
In a large bowl, combine the whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and peaches. Fold in cooled custard mixture then pour in ice cream maker.
Step Four: Add the Rock Salt
Add rock salt and ice outside of the metal freezing unit in alternating layers. I use an ice to salt ratio of about 3:1.
Step Five: Run the Ice Cream Maker
Follow the manufacturer's instruction for running your ice cream maker. Be careful not to allow salty water to enter the met ice cream tank.
Step Six: Enjoy!
For ice cream with a thick milkshake consistency, serve immediately. If you prefer harder ice cream, wait several minutes before serving. Either way, do NOT expect to have leftovers.
Health Benefits, Fun Facts, and Weird Flavors
Health Benefits of Peaches
Peaches are nature's candy. Even better is that these delicious treats are healthy! With less than 60 calories for a medium-sized peach, here are some of the other benefits of this fruit:
- virtually fat free
- a good source of dietary fiber
- a good source of Vitamin A, Niacin and Potassium and
- an excellent source of Vitamin C.
Fun Facts About Ice Cream
What day of the week is ice cream most often purchased?
What age groups eat the most ice cream?
Kids ages 2-12 and adults over 45.
What are the most popular ice cream flavors?
Vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan, strawberry, and mint chocolate chip.
What percentage of people eat their ice cream with their pet?
Only 5% admit to doing so; more men than women let their pet lick the bowl.
When is National Ice Cream Month in the United States?
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan named July National Ice Cream month. National Ice Cream Day is celebrated the third Sunday in July.
What country eats more ice cream per capita than any other?
The United States, followed by New Zealand.
I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream
Strange Ice Cream Flavors From Around the World
Some folks just can't leave it at vanilla, chocolate, or fruit-flavored ice cream. They've got to mix it up a little, or a lot.
Here are some of the—ahem—more adventurous flavors that are out there.
Would you be daring enough to try these creative flavors from around the world?
- Animal Flavored: If you're venturing to Japan, you can find the following flavors: raw horse flesh, cow tongue, octopus, squid, chicken wing.
- Condiment and Snack Flavored: In New York, a local ice cream parlor has created flavors including horseradish, corn on the cob, lox, garlic, pizza, and jalapeño. Another ice creamery in the city offers fig & fresh brown turkey gelato. Yum!
- Bacon!: For all of us bacon lovers, a Delaware ice cream proprietor answers the call with one-of-a kind flavors such as maple bacon with Jack Daniels and chocolate covered bacon.
- "Refined Taste" Flavored: A French ice cream shop has generated flavors such as caviar, mustard, black truffle, and foie gras.
- Lobster Flavored: You can find lobster ice cream in a local ice creamery in Maine. Nothing bettah.
- Dinner Flavored: Then there is the Venezuelan shop that sells a spaghetti and cheese flavored ice cream.
Tell us in the comments section below: What's your favorite ice cream type? What's the most unusual type of ice cream that you've tried? Would you try any of these zany flavors?
Reader Opinion Poll
Would you ever try any of these strange but true flavors?
A Little Peachy History
Peachoid Water Tower In Gaffney, South Carolina
Rubberneckers' Delight on Interstate 85
Gaffney, South Carolina is a town of 13,000—and that's if you count visitors. I spent much of my childhood there but have long since moved on. However, when folks ask where I'm from, all I have to do to is mention the famous Peachoid.
Anyone who has traveled I-85 from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Atlanta, Georgia, knows the novel landmark well. There are the looky-loos who take photos, the jokes about its butt-like appearance, and even a Flickr group dedicated to Peachoid photos.
Laugh all you want. Peaches are serious business in these parts.
The tower was built in 1981 when the city's Board of Public Works commissioned the one-million gallon tank. They sought to highlight the significance of peach farming to the local economy.
At that time, Cherokee County amazingly produced more peaches annually than the state of Georgia. Gaffney is the county seat.
Peaches were widely introduced to South Carolina's agricultural economy in the early 1900s as an alternative to row crops. South Carolina is currently the second-leading producer of peaches behind California. Georgia is third.
Next time you're traveling I-85, pull over and grab your camera between exits 90 and 92. Better yet, help the local folks out and stop for a bite to eat in Gaffney.
See the Peachoid Water Tower In Gaffney, South Carolina
Tip From a (Former) Local
Peaches from Abbott Farms' roadside stand along I-85 near Gaffney and Spartanburg are every bit as good as you'd imagine. They also sell homemade ice cream that is unbelievably good.
Note: I'm not affiliated with them, just providing a helpful hint.
Oh, I Ate Too Much!
Questions & Answers
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