August has arrived--for us, that's good tidings of great joy. It's BABY MONTH. In just a few weeks our new little grandperson is expected. August no longer is some far-off destination trimesters away or even "next month". It's here! The days are ticking by. Soon we'll be meeting him. Yay!!
But as August and Grandboy's due-date roll around, so do the drill-team members and cheerleaders who start returning to the high-school next door to attend their get-ready practices for fall.
Every retailer from Lands'End to Walmart parades out its back-to-school wares. Sunny days are just a tad shorter. Before we blink an eye, we'll have run out of summer and be escorting in autumn.
So, on my summer "must-do" checklist, what's lacking? What have I not cooked that represents absolute the best of summer's essence?
No-brainer: HOMEMADE ICE CREAM! That freezer has not been off the shelf this year; the rock-salt box is undisturbed from the last time we made ice cream last year (or was it two summers ago? Horrors.)
And what did I have staring me right in the face? An unadulterated summer weekend--in fact, the hottest one so far, with temps in the triple digits and not a raincloud to dot the summer sky.
In the refrigerator I just happened to have a bowl full of peeled, chopped peaches--the last vestige of those from our garden's peach trees. Clearly the choice of how to use this supply already was made--homemade peach ice cream.
Oh, and did we love it, down to the very last peach morsel! My recipe, straight out of my new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, was different from our tried-and-true one that we've used since early marriage. That one, though it had served us well for years and years, featured eggs as an ingredient; as anyone knows, uncooked eggs in recipes are big no-no's now, because of health fears over raw eggs. We've all had to dig a little deeper to find eggless or cooked custard-like ice-cream recipes that are suitable.
As I began pouring my peach mixture into the ice-cream-freezer canister, Hubby raised the usual skeptical eyebrow. "Nothing will happen with that," he scowled. "You have to add lots of whole milk. You don't have enough liquid in there. This isn't the way it works at all." I assured him that from the peach puree, enough liquid would materialize--trust me!
Through the entire freezing process, he paced around doubtfully. "This isn't going to work," he growled. (You have to understand that hubby LIVES to eat ice cream. The thought of something going afoul in ice-cream production was like the prospect of finding no goodies in the stockings on Christmas morning.)
Many churns of the electric ice-cream maker later, the moment of truth was now. With the dasher pulled out, the result was . . . beautiful, thick, peach-laced homemade ice cream! The peach puree indeed had saved the day. We could enjoy a record-setting high temp on a blistering August day with the best summertime dish around--Fresh Peach Homemade Ice Cream.
And for some odd reason when the fresh, frozen ice cream was scooped into bowls and eaten on the deck it didn't melt in the hot weather as fast as homemade ice cream usually does. Maybe it was the peach puree. Who knows?
August, nanny-nanny-boo-boo on you. You may be trying to sneak fall in on us, but with delicious bites of peach ice cream sliding past my taste buds, summer is here forever.
Fresh Peach Homemade Ice Cream
6 medium peaches (about 2 pounds), peeled and
stoned, or 4 cups frozen unsweetened peach slices,
1 cup sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a large bowl mash the peaches into a coarse puree. Stir in 1/4 cup of the sugar. Let mixture stand for 1 hour. To the peach mixture add the cream, milk, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, and vanilla. Stir to blend. Refrigerate, covered, until the mixture is very cold, at least 3 hours or as long as 3 days (the colder, the better--but at this point don't put in the freezing compartment of the refrigerator!) Stir the mixture to blend and pour into the canister of an ice-cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Eat at once or transfer to a covered container and freeze up to 8 hours. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream.