We arrived around 10 in the morning and the weather was on our side. It was certainly warm, but not the drenching humidity of a typical North Texas morning in July. There was even a gentle breeze that helped temper the heat. After a brief tutorial from the kindly proprietor, we set off. Almost immediaetly we heard what sounded like hundreds of game show style buzzers, sounding off all around us. Large, locust like bugs whizzed about our faces, our hair and of course the peaches.
For those that don't personally know me, you should be aware that my greatest phobia (more of a true fear really) is wasps. I mean I have a send me hysterically screaming in public places type of terror of these things. I've sat in a hot car, in the middle of summer for almost an hour because of this fear. Those crazy bugs seemed to me initially, as nothing more than really loud wasps. After screeching once or twice in pure fright and probably embarrassing my mom to some degree, she assured me that these buzzing creatures were not in fact wasps, hornets or any other stinging insect. Once I felt secure in this fact, I settled in and began picking the fruits we came for.
Peaches at a supermarket are usually slightly soft to the touch and seem to bruise with only the slightest pressure. Whatever variety of peaches were on these trees, were hard and solid. They seemed better suited for a hitting with a racket than slicing for a pie. We thought we had misunderstood where the owner had pointed to when showing us the ripened trees. Peach after peach, tree after tree, they were all the same. Again, we had to acclimate to this fact and just start picking.
Eventually, we did fill up our baskets and had our haul weighed and priced. Near this checkout area Mom and I noticed that they were selling peach ice cream. Having inherited my sweet tooth from my mother, we knew instantly that there were 2 bowls in our future. We sat down at picnic table and dug into the soft serve style ice cream. It was absolutely delicious...for vanilla ice cream. Only with every third bite or so could you taste the peach flavor at all.
We left the orchard generally happy and only slightly disheartened by adventure. Even with the mutant bugs and the un-peachy peach ice cream, we enjoyed our morning. The rest of the day was spent shopping and dinning on fried pies that we made a special stop for. We deserved it.
With an abundance of peaches and a craving for "real" peach ice cream, I just had to come home and make some myself. This is the real deal!
- This makes about 3 quarts of ice cream. As I mention in the recipe I had to divide the mixture into 2 batches since my Cuisinart model only holds 1 1/2 quarts at a time. If you have to divide it into batches as well, chill remaining mixture in refrigerator until ready to use.
- I used vanilla paste when I made this ice cream and it resulted in a deliciously, rich flavor that complimented the peaches well. You can find vanilla paste at Whole Foods, Williams Sonoma or other speciality shops and grocery stores. Amazon carries it as well but you must buy 2 bottles at a time.
- The diced peaches added towards the end, freeze fairly hard. Be aware of this and take precaution if small children will be eating the ice cream. You may want to puree all of the peaches.
Fresh Peach Ice Cream
3 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups peach puree (about 4 peaches)*
1 cup peaches, peeled and diced
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whisk together eggs and sugar until smooth. Slowly whisk in peach puree. Add cream, half-and-half, vanilla and salt, and stir to combine.
Pour mixture into ice cream maker (I had to divide it into 2 batches) and begin "churning". After 3-5 minutes or when mixture just begins to firm up, add 1 cup fresh, diced peaches (or 1/2 cup if divided). Continue making according to your ice cream maker's instructions. If you had to divide your mixture, repeat the last 2 steps with remaining mixture.
*To make puree: Peel, pit and chop 4 peaches and place in a food processor or blender. Pulse several times until peaches become a smooth puree. This should yield about 2 cups of puree.