POSTED: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 5:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 5:14pm
(CNN) — Here's a peachy keen way to beat the heat - July 17 is National Peach Ice Cream Day.
Summertime means many things, but mostly it means it's hot. Time to take advantage of all the fruit that's in season and cool down at the same time.
Ice cream is far simpler to make than one might expect. When buying an ice cream maker, skip the big-box store and head to your local garage sales: fancy ice cream makers make great wedding gifts, but often recipients don't take the time to learn their true value. Just make sure the bowl of the ice cream maker you buy isn't cracked. If you'd rather not invest in any equipment, you can always make ice cream with a plastic bag and a little elbow grease.
Although it's simple to make, ice cream is all about science and you don't want to mess with that.
The mixture is stirred slowly to prevent ice crystals forming and keep the texture smooth. Using full cream or 2% milk over skim or low-fat milk also helps with texture. The sugar component most recipes call for - when combined with the lactose from the milk - not only adds sweetness but lowers the freezing point. If this didn't happen, the ice cream would be hard and almost impossible to scoop.
Eggs help to stabilize the whole mixture by acting as emulsifiers. Combining and heating these three ingredients (eggs, sugar and milk/cream) make what's called a crème anglaise, the base for most ice creams. It's also what crème brûlée is made from.
Now that you've got your base ready to go, it's time for the peaches. Peaches hold up texturally in the ice cream-making process, and they add a natural sweetness. Chop up your peaches and add them to your ice cream in the mixer just before it's finished so you distribute them evenly. For added peach flavor in your actual ice cream, add a peach purée or peach preserves. You can also experiment by grilling or broiling your peaches first. If you'd like to add a peach liqueur like schnapps to your ice cream, keep in mind that alcohol doesn't freeze and if you add too much it'll change the texture. And, don't forget to label your adult dessert appropriately.
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