If you’re like me, you’re holding onto the last remnants of summer. As the days get shorter, you refuse to turn the desk lights on before 7:30pm, though you probably need to turn them on at 6:30pm (even as the blue glow of the monitor starts to strain your eyes around 7pm). You haven’t resigned yourself to wearing sweaters yet, parading around in t-shirts, even though you might be shivering as you go out. And you still cling to peaches and plums, even as stonefruit season seems to be waning and more and more apples and pears are appearing. One last hurrah, you tell yourself, while picking peaches at the store, where you ask the produce worker how much longer they’ll have the peaches in stock. “Probably a week or two more more…” she replies as you reach for one or two more peaches to put in your bulging bag, alarmed at the thought of no more summer fruit. What to do with all those peaches (besides eat them out of hand) is now the question though, as you clearly went a little overboard at the store while in that panic state. Thankfully the answer is make ice cream – Vanilla Peach and Graham Cracker Ice Cream to be exact – which straddles the line of summer and fall perfectly.
In truth, I was also inspired to make this ice cream by the fine folks at Attune Foods. A few months ago, they had asked me to be their brand ambassador and representative for the Big Summer Potluck in Pennsylvania. I immediately jumped at the chance, as I both love Attune Foods, and wanted to attend the Big Summer Potluck (after all, I did do their new logo!). Part of being a brand ambassador meant I got to hang out and talk about how awesome Attune Foods is (which it is). The other part is that I got to go to Pennsylvania (and New York) and hang out with some of my favorite food bloggers. It was a win-win situation if you ask me.
My recap of the Big Summer Potluck will be going up on the Attune Food’s blog next month. But while I was over in Pennsylvania, on a farm listening to inspirational food writers and bloggers like Brooke Burton, Joy Wilson and Molly O’Neill all I can think about is how each blogger there in attendance was there because of their love of food. From the gluten-free to the vegan to the unapologetic meat and bacon lover, from the conservative minded to the left-wing liberal, our common love of food had us talking and sharing a meal with other people from all walks of life. Food is the one common thread between all people, what often helps define us as a society. When people find out you’ve been on a trip, one of the first things they ask is where you ate. When you tell them you are going somewhere, friends often tell you “You must go and eat at the fabulous restaurant…” Food is such an integral part of everyone’s lives.
More than other food blogging conferences that I’ve been to in the past, The Big Summer Potluck was a chance to meet and hang out with food bloggers. No talking about SEO or traffic, no talking about branding or how to photograph that plate of food. Even though there were brands there, we were a low-key bunch, offering up information when asked, as opposed to manning a booth and handing out samples under a huge banner and a table displaying their products. Organic seemed to be the best way to describe the experience, not only in terms of the food served (in truth, I don’t even know if the food served was organic or not, but it was all wonderful), but the way we all connected to each other, from nibbling on snacks that people brought, to chatting late at night in each other hotel’s room to getting kicked out of said room because we were being too loud. Laughter, love and food was in abundance, the basic ingredients for a good time.
I’m not going to go on and on about Attune Foods, or how awesome they are (and yes, they are awesome). I don’t eat a lot of pre-packaged foods, but Attune Foods’ philosophy is “Simple Ingredients, Simply Made” and though I make my own graham crackers, when I don’t have any of them on hand, or when I’m feeling lazy, I do reach for the New Morning Graham Crackers, which were the first all organic graham cracker on the market. Attune does great products and I’m proud and thrilled to support them. Thanks so much for sending me to Big Summer Potluck.
For those who live in San Francisco, I’m co-hosting my quarterly DIY Desserts Ice Cream Social at 18 Reasons on Sunday, September 23rd from 1pm to 2:30pm. It’s no Big Summer Potluck but it’ll be tons of fun regardless. Stop by with homemade ice cream, ice cream toppings, or sundae mix-ins or just stop by to eat some ice cream, as we need people to eat too!
This post was sponsored by Attune Foods as they provided travel and accommodations for me to go to the Big Summer Potluck as their brand ambassador. That said, all opinion and thoughts are my own.
Vanilla Peach and Graham Cracker Ice Cream
By Irvin Lin
Fresh ripe peaches work best with this recipe, but if you don’t have access to them (perhaps they aren’t in season anymore) you can use frozen peaches as well. I would not recommend using commercially canned peaches, as the varieties used in canning peaches are usually clingstone peaches (meaning they cling to the pit, as opposed to freestone peaches where the pit easily is removed). Clingstone peaches are a much more firm fleshed peach, which make them great for commercial canning, as they can withstand the heat and canning process without falling apart. But for this ice cream, you want a fruit that will fall apart to integrate with the ice cream. If you do use frozen peaches, cut the peaches into smaller chunks to help with that.
Just as a warning, this recipe requires you to cook the custard and the peaches ahead of time, then let chill overnight so plan accordingly. If you’re like me, this also gives you time to clear out your freezer and stick your ice cream canister in there as well to freeze overnight as well, as I almost always forget to do that, cursing myself when it’s time to make the ice cream. Also, just as a warning, because of the bourbon and honey, this ice cream might seem a bit soft (but those two ingredients also mean it’ll be extra smooth). Don’t worry if it doesn’t completely freeze as hard as you expect in the churning. Just scrape it into a container and place in the freeze to harden up.
Recipe inspired by a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated
3 medium sized peaches (680 g or 1 1/2 lbs)
1/2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup (100 g) white granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean (optional – you can substitute 2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
3 tablespoon boubon
Ice Cream Custard
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup (150 g) white granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoon honey
6 large egg yolks
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Graham Cracker Mix-In
9 (150 g) New Morning Honey Graham Crackers
1/4 cup (40 g) confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1 tablespoon (13 g) dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Make the peach mix in by peeling, pitting and cutting the peaches up into 1/2 inch chunks. Place the peach chunks into a nonreactive pan (stainless steel or nonstick, avoid copper, aluminum or cast iron) and add the lemon juice, sugar and salt. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the peach mixtures. Toss the vanilla pod into the mixture as well then stir to coat the peaches. Let the peaches macerate (sit around) for an hour to soften and exude juice.
2. Once the peaches have softened and juices have accumulated, cook the entire thing on medium heat until the peaches are tender start to break down, around 3 or 4 minutes. Scrape the peaches and the juices into a glass bowl (including the vanilla pod), stir in the bourbon and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
3. While you are letting the peaches cool, take a large bowl and fill it with ice and water. Place a gallon ziplock bag in a clean bowl, open it up and place a fine mesh sieve in the opening of the gallon ziplock bag. Make the custard by placing 75 g of sugar and egg yolks into a heatproof bowl and beat with a whisk until it forms a thick paste. Place the whole milk, cream 75 g (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar and honey into a clean nonreactive pot with one handle and cook on the stovetop over medium until small bubbles start to form on the side of the pot (don’t let the dairy boil). Grab the pot with one hand, and pour in a thin stream, about half of the hot cream into the egg yolks, while whisking the yolks with your other hand. You gotta be a little coordinated here, so if this sounds daunting, get someone to help you whisk while you pour, or pour a little bit, put the pot down, whisk and then add a little more and whisk, continuing until about half the hot cream is in the egg yolk.
4. Once the egg yolks are tempered and heated up, scrape the yolk mixture back into the pot with the remaining hot cream. Cook the custard over medium low heat, stirring constantly with the whisk, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon dipped into it, or if you have an instant read thermometer 180˚F. Don’t overcook the custard, as you don’t want scrambled eggs ice cream. Once the custard is cooked, carefully pour the custard into the ziplock bag through the sieve. Again you might want to get someone to help you hold the ziplock bag open as you do that. Press the custard through the sieve and discard any solids. Add the vanilla extract and seal the bag (and make sure it’s really sealed) and slip the ziplock bag into the large bowl with the ice water. Once the custard has cooled down, place the bag back in the bowl you used to hold the ziplock bag when you filled it and place it in the refrigerate overnight.
5. Once the peaches and the custard have chilled (and your ice cream canister is frozen) take the peaches out and open the custard bag. Using a fine mesh sieve, pour the accumulated peach juice out of the peaches into the custard bag and reserve the solid peach parts for a later stir in. Reseal the bag and massage the bag a bit to mix in the peach juice then snip a corner of the bag and pour the custard into the ice cream custard and freeze the ice cream as per your machine directions. Once the ice cream seems to be firming up (remember, it may seem a little soft still) add the peach chunks and let them stir in for about 30 seconds.
6. While the ice cream is freezing in the machine, make the graham cracker stir in by breaking the graham crackers into 1 inch chunks and placing them in a food processor. Add the sugars and spices and process until the ground to a fine powder. While the processor is, drizzle the olive oil into the graham cracker. Once incorporated, the graham crackers will seem wet and stick slightly together, but not completely. Once the ice cream is finished freezing in the machine, layer the ice cream with the graham cracker mix in (don’t spoon chunks of it, just generously sprinkle, breaking up any big lumps with your fingers before adding), then place in the freezer to harden completely.
Makes about one quart of ice cream.