Friday, August 2, 2013

Honey Almond Ice Cream with Peaches

I’ve been wanting to get back to making ice cream for a while and now that I have other projects completed, I am definitely in summertime ice cream prep mode.  Since I've established a permanent home for the bowl of my ice cream machine in my freezer, it's always possible to whip up a batch on a whim.   

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the plight of beestrying not to think too much about a future without them.  What began as an anomaly in 2006 has fully evolved into what is now known as colony collapse disorder.  Even though the latest data continue to show an alarming loss of bee hives, it's difficult to grasp that they are so endangered.  Let’s hope that science continues to grapple with this serious problem and that there is more of an ongoing commitment to sustainable agriculture in our future.  Bees are an essential element of a healthy natural food system.

So my thoughts have been resting on honey and what a miraculous thing it is.  This honey ice cream is a great way to appreciate its phenomenal flavor.  And since I also had some sumptuous peaches in my fruit bowl, it seemed natural to add some almonds to the ice cream for a flavor that would be supremely complimentary to them.  But instead of just adding the sliced almonds, I coated them with a bit of sugar and spice and toasted them for even more flavor and texture.

I love the result of this easy little experiment.  The honey is delicious here and the nuts really take it to a perfect level of satisfaction.  The ice cream is definitely wonderful on its own but especially good if you have any stone fruit or berries or fresh figs.  Or just a tiny touch of chocolate sauce.  You know the drill!!

Bench notes:
- You’ll have some leftover almonds but it won’t be a liability.
- If you’d rather leave the almonds plain, be sure to toast them in a single layer in a 350 degree oven for about 6 - 8 minutes.  Watch them closely as they will burn quickly. 
- Roast the peaches and the syrup in a baking dish that is not too large so the liquid doesn’t evaporate and burn during the roasting process.  How long you roast them will depend on their ripeness.
- If you have a 1/4 vanilla bean or other small pieces in your vanilla sugar jar, add to the honey and lemon peach syrup as it simmers.

Honey Almond Ice Cream with Roasted Peaches
Makes about 1 quart

Spiced Almonds
1 cup (3 oz) sliced almonds
1 egg white (2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
pinch salt
1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) sugar

Honey Ice Cream Base
2 cups (16 oz) heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) milk
1/4 cup (2 oz) honey
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) sugar    
pinch salt
2 teaspoons rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 – 2/3 cup spiced almonds

Roasted Peaches
4 fresh ripe peaches
1/2 cup (4 oz) water
1/4 cup (2 oz) honey
2 tablespoons (26 grams) sugar
1 – 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste

For the spiced almonds, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.

Whisk the egg white until it’s frothy and opaque. Add spices and salt and whisk to combine. Toss in the sliced almonds and coat evenly. Sprinkle with sugar and toss to thoroughly coat the nuts.  Spread them on the baking sheet in a single layer.  Give them another light dusting of sugar.  Toast until they are dry and golden, about 20 – 25 minutes.  Place on a wire rack to cool completely.  Break up into small bite-sized pieces.

For the ice cream, pour the cream and milk into a saucepan and add the honey, sugar and salt.  Simmer over medium low heat until the sugar and honey are fully dissolved. Remove from heat and add the rum and the vanilla and almond extracts.  Whisk thoroughly and add a few more grains of salt, to taste.  Pour the mixture into an airtight container.  Chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker.  Fold in about 1/2 - 1/3 cup of the spiced almonds and pour into a clean airtight container.  Press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface and cover with the lid.  Place in your freezer to firm up.

To prepare the peaches, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the water, honey and sugar in a saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes until thoroughly dissolved. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, to taste.

Halve and pit the peaches and arrange them cut side up in a shallow baking dish small enough to fit the peach halves without too much extra room.  Pour the honey lemon syrup over the peaches and roast until tender, about 30 minutes, basting and turning them over half way through.  

Scoop the ice cream into serving bowls and garnish with the peach halves. Spoon the warm poaching liquid over the fruit and serve right away.


Noemi said...

Yum! I've been in a honey mood myself lately. This sounds delicious!

Anonymous said...

wow this is an original and tasty idea!!!!