Monday, July 18, 2011

Strawberry and Peach Blender Ice Creams

 In Southern California, it is really ice cream season year round, but it always tastes just a little bit better on a hot summer's day.  When we were children it was a special treat to make ice cream. We had to have plenty of ice, rock salt, friends willing to turn the crank, and of course my Dad, who would do the final turns when it was too difficult for our tired arms. After all that work, there was nothing better than that first bite of homemade ice cream. Although making ice cream the old fashioned way is fun, I love my new, no pre-freezing required ice cream machine. The only wait time is chilling the custard, but the great thing about both of these ice creams is that they are made in the blender and do not have a cooked base, so they can be ready to churn in minutes. These kind of desserts are perfect for those summer days when it is too hot to turn on the stove and you can't wait 24 hours for your ice cream.

Nothing is easier to make than this peach ice cream. It is light, delicate and silky smooth, and is really nothing more than peaches and cream. Since we have a large crop of peaches, we did make two versions- one with diced peaches marinated in amaretto and one without. We were split on which was better. Mr. Mimi and I liked the chunks of peaches, while Boy Mimi preferred the smooth one, so it is just a matter of personal ice cream taste.

Peach Ice Cream
This is really just a method and we make it with almost any type of fruit.

Amaretto, or almond extract

Peel and pit peaches, add to blender with the juice of one lemon. Puree until smooth. To 2 1/2 cups of peach puree we added 1/2 cup sugar, but the amount of sugar depend on the sweetness of the peaches so adjust as necessary, remembering that when frozen it will taste less sweet. We added 1 cup cream and pureed until thick. Taste your ice cream and if the flavor is too mild add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond extract or a couple tablespoons amaretto.  Freeze in your ice cream maker according the manufacturer's directions. If you like, chop up some additional peaches to add at the ending of churning for a chunky peach ice cream. We let our peaches sit in a tablespoon of amaretto while the ice cream was turning.

The recipe for the Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream comes from my friend Kim at Stirring the Pot. It is also a blender ice cream, creamy and smooth with a fresh strawberry flavor balanced by the slight cream cheese flavor in the background. Next time we might bake a graham cracker crust, and add some crumbled pieces to make it even more like a cheesecake.

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Adapted from and Stirring the Pot
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup fresh pureed strawberry
1 cup half and half or cream

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Chill ingredients for about 1 hour, or until cold, and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

Links: Foodie Fridays at Designs by Gollum