Welcome to Part 2 of our Summer Series: Icy Treats Edition!
This week, we brought out the the real stunner: nothing says summer like ice cream, especially if that ice cream is melting so fast that it’s all over your face/hands/toes (#Flip-flipWoes), and especially especially if that ice cream is homemade and packed full with bite after bite of ripe, seasonal summer fruit.
This recipe combines three things we’re crazy about : ice cream (duh) + nectarines + buttermilk.
We don’t know how to put this without sounding like we’re just spurting hyperbole, so we’ll keep it simple: this ice cream is insane. It’s so good that there is actual silence in our kitchen when we’re eating it. You may not realize how rare that is, but…it is. In a perfect world, we’d just walk around with this ice cream in our mouth at all times, but after a brief poll of our friends, we learned that continuously having ice cream in our mouths might be considered “gross” by others. Whatever.
Ice cream is one of our very favorite foods, but seasonal ice cream flavors always score highest on our love-o-meter. As we roll through summer and the corresponding produce popping up in turn, we’re always looking to use it all before it disappears into fall. We wait the whole year for fruits like nectarines, so when they show up, want to eat them in every dish we can while they last.
We’re happiest eating summer produce when it’s not buried in tons of other flavors. Simple is best when you really want to celebrate an ingredient—that means letting it shine through and not cooking it into oblivion or layering it with competing or heavy flavors.
Fruit ice cream can be one of those foods where the flavor you were hoping to get is actually pretty hard to taste. Often, it tastes more like cream than fruit. It’s rare to find one where we think WOAH, this tastes like it’s packed with (for example) the most nectarine-y nectarines. But that’s what you want when you get nectarine ice cream, right? You want it to taste like nectarines! Imagine that.
So sometimes, we have to take matters into our own hands. All you need is a solid recipe and produce that’s really good, actually ripe, and super fresh. This ice cream recipe is perfect for getting phenomenal clarity of flavor—it’s creamy but not as heavy as other ice creams: no eggs—just cream, milk, and cream cheese (with a little help from a few other ingredients). We have Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams to thank for the recipe inspiration. (Her ice creams are unbelievable.)
We like to put recipes on this site that include ingredient showstoppers for us: things that if we see them in the store, in a dish, on a menu—we’re done. No more perusing necessary. There are some ingredients that just make a meal for us, no matter what else is going in. Nectarines and buttermilk are two of those ingredients for us, but together, they’re somehow even better.
Flavor-wise, color-wise, texture-wise, nectarines and buttermilk are a perfect match. They complement each other in every way, and when it comes to ice cream, they produce some serious magic. Buttermilk is tangy, creamy, and refreshing, which is pretty awesome since those three adjectives don’t often describe one food. While we love it year-round, summertime just begs for cold buttermilk’s crispness. Thankfully, it’s versatile enough to be used in dishes for every meal. In this recipe, it cuts through some of the heaviness in ice cream that can dull other flavors, especially delicate ones like fruit, without competing with the nectarines. It also makes the fruit’s wonderful tartness sing. Since a ripe nectarine will bring considerable sweetness to the equation, too, you can comfortably cut down on some of the added sugar and just let the fruit do its thing (which it does very well here, we might add). As for looks, the summer-glow sunset colors of a nectarine against buttermilk would almost be too pretty to eat if it weren’t so delicious.
Roasting the nectarines serves two purposes: 1. It intensifies the fruit’s flavor—always a plus when you really want to taste your ingredients. 2. It prevents the fruit from essentially turning into sorbet when you freeze it in the ice cream. Roasting the nectarines allows you to cook out some of the fruit’s high water content. This means you won’t bite down on any hard, ice-cream-bliss-spoiling chunks, and that the puréed fruit won’t turn your ice cream more ice than cream. In short, roasting = better texture and better flavor. Win. Win.
Creamy, fruity, sweet, tart, and icy cold. If those words don’t describe the perfect summer dessert, then we don’t know summer….which is impossible considering the amount of high dive-jumping, ice cream eating, backyard feasting, and hammock swinging we’ve been doing. So, maybe trust us on this one?
-Your Official Summer 2015 Ambassadors, Lee & Lou
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Roasted Nectarine Buttermilk Ice Cream
Buttermilk Ice Cream Base Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart of insanely delicious ice cream
Notes: **Before you get started! Place your ice cream canister in the freezer according to the manufacturers directions. Often, it has to be frozen for a full day before use, so make sure to plan ahead!
Also, you may be tempted to use low fat cream cheese or milk, but this will change the texture and flavor! Don’t do it!
It may sound like an unnecessary step, but letting the fruit sit with the sugar is actually super important. This step ensures that the nectarines release a lot of their water, which will then cook off when you roast the fruit, but leave behind all of the good nectarine flavor in the form of a syrup—much more ice cream-texture friendly.
– An ice cream maker
– 6 ripe nectarines: 3 peeled and quartered + 3 roughly chopped into large bite-sized chunks, skins left on
– Juice of 1/2 a lemon
– 2 tbs cornstarch
– 2 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
– 1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
– 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
– 2 tbs light corn syrup
– 1/3 cup granulated sugar (for roasting the fruit) + 2/3 cup granulated sugar (for the ice cream base)
– 1 1/2 cups whole milk
– 1/4 cup buttermilk
* Put the bite-sized, skin-on nectarine chunks (from 3 nectarines) in a bowl and pour 1/3 cup of granulated sugar over them. Mix. Let sit for an hour. Near the end, pre-heat your oven to 400 °F. Jump ahead to the ice cream base while they sit.
* After an hour, pour the nectarines and the juice that has accumulated in the bowl onto a roasting pan in a single layer and pop in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool fully.
Meanwhile, as your nectarines are sitting and then roasting, start making the ice cream base…
* Add the lemon juice and the chunks of the remaining 3 nectarines into your blender or food processor. Puree. Set aside until needed.
* In a 2-quart (or larger) bowl, blend the cream cheese with the salt using a wooden spoon or a spatula.
* In a small bowl, mix the 2 tbs of cornstarch with a couple tablespoons of the whole milk just to dissolve it—you’re making what’s called a “slurry.” Stir to mix well.
* Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water—it needs to be big enough that the 2-quart bowl can rest in the ice water.
* In a saucepan over medium heat, add the rest of the whole milk, along with the cream, corn syrup, and 2/3 cup of sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar using a wooden spoon.
* Bring the mixture to a boil, but watch it carefully so it doesn’t scald or boil over. Boil for 4–5 minutes.
* Remove from heat and whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
* Put the pot back on the stove and bring it back to a boil, stirring until the mixture has thickened. This should take about 2–3 minutes.
* Remove from heat. Carefully and slowly whisk the hot milk into the bowl with the cream cheese until it is smooth. Then, mix in the buttermilk. Now, you have your ice cream base.
* Place the bowl with your ice cream base into the ice bath. Stir to cool a bit, then add the pureed nectarines.
* When the mixture is cold, pour the it into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker and churn according the manufactures directions.
* Just before the ice cream is done churning, fold in the the reserved roasted nectarine chunks with a spatula.
* Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Put a piece of parchment on top of the surface and cover with an airtight lid. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
© 2015 Lee and Lou Cook. All rights reserved