I grew up hand-cranking ice cream.
The churn body was wooden, with a cast iron gearbox and a long cast iron arm with a wooden handle on the end. The ice came in blocks that we chipped into pieces with an icepick in a galvanized wash tub. It was quite pleasant to suck on a shard of ice while working in the summer heat.
My mother was an inveterate experimenter. We enjoyed(?) honey ice cream, Grape-Nut ice cream and muscadine ice cream. But my favorite recipe was peach ice cream. We got the peaches from local orchards and canned most of them. But the ripest of the bunch were saved for ice cream.
When my neighbor gave me some beautiful ripe peaches recently, I combined some of my remembered shortcuts with a recipe I found on the Internet.
PEACH ICE CREAM
6 cups mashed peaches
1 cup granulated sugar
1 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 quart milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Peeling peaches can be a chore. The easiest way to remove the skin is to put the fruit into boiling water for 1 – 2 minutes, depending on ripeness. Ripe peaches don’t take long to loosen the skin. Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon, run under cold water and peel immediately. If you do it right, the skin will slip right off.
When you have enough to make a recipe, squeeze the fruits in your fist to mash the pulp off the seed. Discard the seed and use your hands to further mash and separate the pulp. You could use a blender or food processor – but the fruit won’t have the “lumpiness” some people enjoy.
Combine peaches and 1 cup sugar; stir well, and set aside. Beat eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer until frothy. Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, flour and salt; stir well. Gradually add sugar mixture to eggs; beat until thickened. Add milk; mix well.
Pour egg mixture into a large saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats a metal spoon (about 15 minutes) (160 degrees). Remove from heat, and set pan in ice-cold water; stir gently until cool.
Stir in cream, vanilla extract and peaches. Pour mixture into freezer container of a 1-gallon electric freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Let ripen (that means put it in your refrigerator freezer) for at least 1 hour.
Yields about 1 gallon.
Everyone will wish you made more.
(adapted from a recipe at http://www.recipegoldmine.com/dessicePZ/dessice68.html)