Summertime and the livin’ is easy. If you’re anything like me, your air conditioning is working overtime (hello, heatwave), your sandal game is strong, and your ice cream cravings are in full swing. To add fuel to the fire, I just returned from a pretty spectacular trip to Italy where I indulged in gelato daily (sometimes more than once), and while it’s good to be home, gelato withdrawals are at the top of my “vacation blues” list. Rough, I know.
So, as I began to brainstorm desserts for celebrating this weekend’s Fourth of July holiday, the decision was obvious — homemade ice cream. Cakes and cookies decorated in reds and blues are all good, but when it comes to summer desserts, there’s something I find irresistibly tempting about freshly churned ice cream. Afterall, is there anything more American than a creamy scoop on a blisteringly hot summer day? Throw in a few hot dogs fresh off the grill and a fireworks display, and you’ve got yourself a pretty magical Fourth.
While the focus here is ice cream, produce, especially peaches, are not to be ignored this time of year. A girlfriend of mine just moved into a new home with a peach tree in the front yard. Lucky for me, one family can only eat so many peaches, and I was recently the happy recipient of some of the sweet overflow. I ate most of them while fresh, but my sweet tooth got the best of me and I couldn’t resist cutting a few up to stash in the freezer for desserts to come.
And here they are, making their grand debut. I’m declaring this Peachberry Shortbread Ice Cream the only thing you’ll need on your dessert table this weekend. Intensely smooth vanilla ice cream, swirled with homemade peach and raspberry jams and studded with shortbread cookies. Perfection. The only thing it’s missing is a touch of patriotic blue, but hey, serve each scoop topped with fresh blueberries and things will only become more festive and delicious. Happy Fourth!
Ice cream base adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
For the peach jam:
- 1 1/2 cups sliced peaches
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar (more if peaches are under-ripe)
- squeeze lemon juice
For the raspberry jam:
- 1 pint raspberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the ice cream:
- 2 cups milk
- 4 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- splash of bourbon (optional)
- 1/4 cup crushed shortbread cookies
- To make the peach jam: Combine the peaches, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until most of the water has evaporated from the fruit and the mixture begins to thicken, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- To make the raspberry jam: Combine the raspberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until most of the water has evaporated from the fruit and the mixture begins to thicken, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- To make the ice cream: In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup milk and the cornstarch; set slurry aside.
- In a large saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 4 minutes. Watch the mixture closely as it can boil over easily.
- Stir in slurry. Return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Place cream cheese in a bowl and pour in 1/4 cup hot milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Then whisk in remaining milk mixture.
- Pour mixture into a large plastic bag; seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until very well chilled.
- Pour mixture into an ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Once frozen, transfer half of the ice cream to a storage container. Layer with half of each jam and sprinkle with half of the shortbread cookies. Add in the remaining ice cream and repeat with toppings. Cover with parchment paper and freeze for at least 6 hours or until solid.