Some food, some drink.
Fun with a White Mountain Ice Cream Maker: Peach, Bourbon and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.
I never turn down the opportunity to try out a new gadget (kitchen or otherwise), so when a friend of mine offered to bring his White Mountain Ice Cream Maker to work on a Friday, politely declining really wasn't an option. For our in-office ice cream experiment, we incorporated fresh Colorado peaches, real vanilla bean, and a strong pour of straight Bourbon whiskey into the mix. This frozen dessert got everyone at the office to happy hour just a little earlier on that particular day.
Y'know what I like about the consulting work I do when I'm not cooking and kid wrangling? It's that it provides me the opportunity to cook for a captive audience. Just like in science, peer review is essential to improving on one's cooking, and while I'm not saying that the input I get from my family isn't honest, it sure doesn't help to get outside opinions. On days where I go to a proper office, I enjoy capitalizing on opportunities to throw eats in front of folks, and on this most recent occasion, I couldn't help but use some more of those Colorado Peaches while they're still fresh.
The other guy in he office who messes with maps (like me) not only appreciates a good brisket, but he also digs his ice cream as well. Where my ice cream freezer is a sensible sedan, his is friggin' Mack Truck: We're talking about the six-quart capacity White Mountain Electric Ice Cream Maker. Where mine is mostly plastic with a bit of metal thrown in where it counts, his is comprised of electroplated cast iron, stainless steel, beechwood, and New England pine. To borrow another automotive term, this is the Cadillac of ice cream makers; so you know that when I was invited to fool around with a White Mountain, there was no way I was gonna turn down the opportunity.
Being my first time with a White Mountain and all, I didn't wanna stray too far from a standard recipe, but at the same time, it was agreed that we should most definitely put our own spin on the cream coming out of the churn. Loosely following White Mountain's original peach ice cream recipe, we made a few adjustments; chief among those being the use of a couple of real vanilla beans and a real generous pour of Kentucky Bourbon whiskey.
Recipe: Jump to the detailed recipe. (or, keep reading for the gist of it) -
Peel, pit and chop the peaches. Throw the peaches in a blender or food processor and add the pulverized vitamin C and the sugar. Puree to desired consistency (I kept mine more chunky than smooth) and set aside.
Split the vanilla beans and scrape the pulp out of them. Add the milk and scraped vanilla pods to a 6-8 quart pot. Heat the milk over medium heat, stirring occasionally until just scalded and bubbles just start to form around edge of the milk. Remove from the heat and stir in sugar and salt until completely dissolved. Remove the vanillla pods and stir in half and half, vanilla pulp, heavy cream, Bourbon and peach puree. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Freeze per your ice cream churn manufacturer's directions.
- This recipe makes a gallon of ice cream. For reference, my Cuisinart does like a quart and a half tops on a good day. So if you're small batching it, I'd cut the recipe down by 1/4 and go from there.
- I'm not entirely sure that the ascorbic acid (AKA "vitamin C") is totally necessary, but given that I was exponentially increasing the surface area of all that stonefruit and thus exposing it to the possibility of browning, I thought it wise to cover my rear-end. Don't feel like compounding your own vitamin C and sugar? Well, hey guess what "Fruit Fresh" is primarily comprised of?
- Other than making it taste good, the booze in the ice cream serves another purpose as well. Ethanol retards the growth of ice crystals, which is kind of a bit of insurance taken out in the chance that it takes a bit longer to get to a freezing (quicker freeze = smaller ice crystals = smoother texture). In plain English, we're talking about a more solid path to a nicer finished product.
- With that White Mountain churn, the choice to hard-pack is totally optional. The finished product will hold its own against the stuff coming out of most any commercial soft-serve machine; whereas the stuff coming out of my smaller freezer sans-an overnight freeze darn near turns to soup before it hits the bowl.
- Y'know what's kind of a silly notion? Ice cream salt. This stuff is exorbitant in price for what it is. If you do a lot of ice cream (hell even if you don't) I think water softener salt is the way to go. Now, pump your brakes - I'm not talking about the pellets, or the stuff that has rust remover in it. I'm talking about the stuff Morton sells as "Solar Salt". Remember, this is salt people add to their water supply every day. It's 99.8% pure salt, and besides being the perfect granule size, it's around five bucks for a big-ass forty-pound bag; making said sodium chloride a screamin' deal.
Though I've been known to churn upon occasion, I'm not a frozen dessert junkie. Mind you I'm not hatin' here, it's just that I don't have the time to go run off my dessert after every meal. Calorie content aside, this stuff is quite good. The peach and vanilla show up to the party in equal proportion, and the Bourbon works as more of a supporting role (only the snobs will be able to pick it out in the mix, but if you don't add it, then you'll know its missing). If I had one gripe, it might be that I'd like my bits of peach to be a bit bigger, but to make that happen would have involved a lot more knife work and storing the peach chunks separately and adding them during the last leg of freezing. Not really the best scenario when making ice cream on location, if you catch my drift.
It's just plain difficult to complain about homemade ice cream. When our batch was done, we started distributing bowls throughout the office; so I'll just apologize after the fact to those that would have turned it down had we not shoved a dish under their nose. I guess if taking firsts on homemade ice cream is being polite, then I reckon that the folks that came back for seconds were the seal of approval we were looking for. Definitely making this recipe again (and maybe with my own White Mountain if I can sway the significant other)!