Tuesday, June 16, 2009

{TWD} A Peach of a Showdown: Dorie and David square off in the Peach State

Although a really good vanilla ice cream could be the indispensable foundation of an ice cream emporium, I’d imagine that a shop’s reputation could also be made on the strength of a killer peach ice cream. Maybe it’s because I live in Georgia, “The Peach State”- witness the peach in the center of our license plates – but peach is an iconic ice cream flavor, and when done right is the perfect taste of summer: cool, refreshing, peachy, creamy.

Dorie Greenspan’s Honey Peach Ice Cream was the recipe chosen for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie baking group by Tommi of Brown Interior . I was a little worried that it might be too early for local peaches, but the first ones hit the stores and showed up in my farm box order the very week that I had planned to make this ice cream.

To be honest, I didn’t set forth to have a taste test, but it’s pretty hard to resist ripe local peaches. I picked up a couple of pounds more, and in addition to eating sliced peaches with California cherries in my yogurt, I decided that more peach ice cream was in order. I happened to have David Lebovitz’ ice cream book, The Perfect Scoop, out of the library, and decided to try his recipe for peach ice cream, and we could compare with the container of Dorie’s that was still in the freezer.

As a final bonus, I made a half batch of David Lebovitz’ peach variation of his nectarine sorbet. Three different frozen peach treats in my freezer! I’ll describe each of the ice creams separately, then pick a winner at the end.

Dorie Greenspan’s Honey Peach Ice Cream

n.o.e.’s notes:

- You can find the recipe on Tommi's blog post.

- Dorie’s recipe calls for 2 pounds of peaches, and she estimates that at 4 peaches. I’m not sure that our peaches ever get as big as half a pound each! I used 11 small, early, local peaches, and measured out 2 lbs of peach cubes (900 grams) after peeling and pitting the peaches. I think that meant that I used a bit more than Dorie’s recipe contemplates – her measurement was 2 lbs of whole fruit.

- It’s no fun to peel 11 small peaches with a knife; instead I blanched the peaches for 1 minute in boiling water then immediately shocked them in a bowl of ice water. This
makes the peach skins easy to rub off, and not as much peach is lost to peeling.

- Looking back over the recipe, I realize now that I didn’t follow Dorie’s directions exactly. Rather than keeping half of the peaches to use as chunks in the ice cream, I cooked and pureed all of them. Cooking the fruit prevents the fruit bits from becoming icy in the freezer.

- Custards are getting a little less scary for me, and luckily this one behaved well.

- The ice cream completely filled the 2 quart bowl of my ice cream maker.

the verdict:

My husband is a really big fan of peach ice cream, and he really did love this. Honey is one of my favorite ingredients – I add it to my plain yogurt for lunch and to my morning tea, but I thought the honey and peach were not totally compatible in this ice cream. It’s possible that I should have used a milder honey (I used tupelo) but I thought it was a little bit too prominent. I’m glad that I pureed all of the peaches, as the texture was nice and smooth.

David Lebovitz’ Peach Ice Cream

n.o.e.’s notes:

- The recipe came from The Perfect Scoop. You can find the recipe on page 89 of the Google preview or on this blog but you should do yourself a favor and buy the book - it's wonderful, and jam-packed with information and recipes.

- I made 1.5 recipe, which was just about 2 pounds of peaches. I tried David’s blanching method of cutting an “x” in the bottom of the peach skin, but I didn’t see any real difference; the skins come off plenty easily for me without the cuts. Since we are in “peach country” our peaches are always very fresh and I let them get very ripe before I use them, so maybe that helps the skins come off.

- I had some freshly squeezed lime juice already in the fridge so I used it rather than lemon juice.

- This recipe does not require a custard!!

- I’m not fond of sour cream, but I used it exactly as specified and crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t dominate the ice cream.

– My 2 qt ice cream maker was filled to the brim with ice cream!

the verdict:

Wow! This is some seriously excellent ice cream. When my husband tasted it, he said, “This is the real deal!” The sour cream and lime served to brighten and support the sweetness of the peaches. It was summer on a spoon!


David's Peach Ice Cream on left, Dorie's Honey Peach Ice Cream on right

The great thing about ice cream is that it’s meant to be kept in the freezer, and remains good for quite a while. So we still had a good bit of Dorie’s when I made David’s, and could do a side by side taste test (actually we’ve done several of these, since we had half a gallon of each ice cream!)

Both recipes make delicious peach ice cream. Dorie's is denser, creamier, with a more complex (almost muddled) honey accented peach flavor. David's was softer, fluffier, fresher, with a straightforward peaches+cream flavor.

Ultimately, the cleaner, peachier taste of David’s ice cream took the prize, and will become my go-to peach ice cream recipe.

Peachy Bonus: Peach Sorbet

Peach sorbet on left, Dorie's Peach Honey Ice Cream on upper right, David's Peach Ice Cream on lower right

This past weekend I had a pound of peaches (4) from the Farm Box that were on the verge of being too ripe, and decided to make a peach sorbet. I used the peach variation of David Lebovitz’ Nectarine Sorbet. The peaches were so ripe that the skins came off easily without any blanching at all! The only ingredients are peaches, water, sugar, and a bit of kirsch or lemon juice (I used kirsch), and the result is an deeply-colored and -flavored peachy treat. I actually prefer a fruit sorbet to ice cream, so this really hit the spot for me. Chilly, intense, essence of peach! My husband thought it was good but likes ice cream better; luckily there’s still plenty of that in the freezer for him!

In anticipation of this week’s peach supply, I’m already freezing my canister for Peach Frozen Yogurt (also from The Perfect Scoop). It’s tough duty living in the peach capital of the U.S., but somebody’s got to do it, right?

little peeled peach waiting to become peach ice cream!


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

... tough duty living in the peach capital of the U.S. ... right.
Wonderful side by side. I can't help but wonder where you two would have come down on this one with a different honey? ... the summer is young ;)

Andrea at Nummy Kitchen said...

Oh wow Nancy, three frozen peach treats, yum! Peach ice cream is one of my favorites (perhaps favorite but I hate giving an only favorite title) and you've really got me aching to make David's peach ice cream -- fresh peaches and cream flavor sounds amazing. You are so lucky to live in the peach capital of the world, when I was little on our yearly trip to Florida I remember stopping for Georgia peaches and pecans, such a sweet memory!

Creative Classroom Core said...

Wow! I love how you tried so many different ways! So cool!

vibi said...

When I came this morning... nothing was posted, but I didn't despair, for I knew you were in the ice cream-sorbet business lately, so I came back knowing you'd have made this one! LOL

I can't believe how many recipes you made... wow! What courage! I have to admit now, I'm jealous... I wish I had made Lebovitz's one, for after making and tasting his frozen strawberry yogurt not long ago (the one you posted last Friday), I think I found my new ice cream guru... hopefully my next Lebovitz attempt will be just as glorious!!! LOL

I'm glad you found your fancy in all those you made and have to admit once more, they are all very appetizing and beautifully presented!

Now... if only I could find such a nice taste test to attend... LOL

Jules Someone said...

Ok, I'm coming to your house. I really liked this ice cream. My honey was very mild, so it added sweetness without overwhelming the peaches. I haven't posted yet, but I'll get to it later.

natalia said...

Ciao ! wonderful peaches ! I had a T-shirt saying 'the peach state' !I love your testing and being peaches just at the beginning I can't wait to try your winner !!

Carla said...

You are so lucky to live in peach country! I love peaches! Plus the houses in Savannah are beautiful. Where in GA do you live?

I bet it was fun doing a peach taste test like that! I do want to buy David's book. You are so lucky it's at your library! It's such a pricey book, but someday I will find it for a good price.

mike said...

Um.... I see you made a little ice cream Nancy. :)

WONDERFUL! I have family Anniversary this weekend (and no ice cream maker). *That's* my excuse. Plus, I've never made it before - wow, you make it look so easy! AND fabulous combination - David's and Dorie's. Hm... I might just do a rewind and try this out. Thanks for going 150% this time around! Looks fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Oh my, that's a lot of frozen treats! I'll have to try the Perfect Scoop version. I never had peach ice cream until I made it for this week.

I'm hoping figs will be available at the farmers' market this week for the fig ice cream.

chocolatechic said...

Your poor husband.

Being subjected to such a brutal task as taste testing ice cream.

Kayte said...

How did you get that peach ice cream to look peach? Mine looks really pale with bright peach spots in it...yours looks peachy in color. How did you do that??? I cannot photo ice cream, I was running around trying to get a good shot and it was melting like crazy. You are the star this week, yep, definitely with making and researching and comparing...the definitive source right here! All of them look really great.

Hindy said...

You have local peaches? In June? Wow... I'd love to sit down at your ice cream buffet. Well done!

Anonymous said...

Yes you are the workhorse of the bunch aren't you? Love all the comparisons! I wish, oh how I wish I lived in the peach state. I looove peaches.

Leslie said...

I love the taste off! All of yours look wonderful, and peach ice cream says summer on a spoon to me. Good call on pureeing all the peaches. I have resisted by David's book (do I really need to get good at making ice cream?) We have lovely peaches here too but the ones I want to make this with are the sweet, juicy white peaches on my tree.

Sara said...

Great comparison. I am jealous of your delicious peaches. Mine were awful so I ended up using apricots.

Sarah said...

I loved Dorie's ice cream, so I can't imagine how great David's must be!!! I've been meaning to get his book, but your post made me realize I need it sooner than later!

Susan @ SGCC said...

Three frozen treats! Wow! They all look so luscious! I love David's version too.

margot said...

Awesome, they all look wonderful! You know, I thought that the Dorie recipe was good but not great, so I'm glad to know where to turn for the superlative peach ice cream (though I think I might try yogurt next). That is when we've finished the three containers of homemade ice cream/sorbet currently in the freezer.

Anonymous said...

Holy cow, that's a lot of frozen peach goodies!! It'd be nice if I was a neighbor and could help you out with the taste tests...
I love the color of your Honey Peach Ice Cream! It's the most colorful one I've seen yet.
I have to get The Perfect Scoop for sure now!

Di said...

Mmm, they all look delicious! I did the same as you, and cooked and pureed all of my peaches. I've borrowed The Perfect Scoop from the library as well, but I'm thinking it might be time to actually buy a copy.

Unknown said...

Oh wow, I love your comparison post Nancy! That said, I'm quite jealous that you have room in your freezer for so many delicious treats at the same time. I can barely fit one batch of ice cream and still make room for the ice cream maker's canister. I'm going to have to try the recipes from The Perfect Scoop, especially that sorbet, as I definitely prefer fruit sorbets to fruit ice cream.

TeaLady said...

Nancy!! You are tooo much. Three frozen desserts!! Wow!! I may have to try David's with some good peaches when they come in. But all of yours look so cold and refreshing.

Peach capital. And you mail them out when????

Katrina said...

Wow, what a showdown! I don't really care for fruit in my ice cream, but you're sure making me wish I'd have tried it.
Instead for TWD I made honey almond ice cream and put it on top of some peach crisp. Still good.
Love all your photos and the color of the ice cream and sorbet is beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the in-depth peach research! I can't wait for the peach frozen yogurt verdict. You are making a good name for the Peach State!

Anonymous said...

LOVE the taste test but I am afraid we part ways on the sorbet v. ice cream debate. I am with your husband. I have heard so many good things about the Perfect Scoop. I need to break down and get it.

I am jealous of your abundance of fresh peaches.

Madam Chow said...

You overachiever, you! When can I come over for dessert?

Audrey said...

I love that your peach ice creams/sobert look so, well, peachy! I was very pleased with my first ice cream, but I'm willing to go with the showdown winner.

If our lists are different, I'm sure yours is filled with fresh, exotic, unusual flavors in a bevy of beautiful colors. Mine's probably more Baskin-Robbinsy, which kind of defeats the purpose of homemade ...except for sweet potato. BR doesn't have that one!) So we'll trade scoops, ok?

(btw, you didn't mislead me...I just misread the recipe!)

Mary said...

Great post. I just ordered the David ice cream book and I can't wait to try it out. I am so jealous that peaches are in season in your area....all we have in our CSA baskets is a lot of baby lettuce at this point!

Peggy said...

I wish I could eat at your house just one time. You always make the best looking stuff! This ice cream looks tasty. I just didn't have time this week to make it.:( Maybe later in the summer I can do a re-wind of it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I need that book! Peach ice cream is my favorite and the honey in Dorie's recipe took too much away from the bright peach flavor. Thanks for the side-by-side!

Cathy said...

Loooove the taste test! We don't have the distinction of being the Peach Capital of the United States here in Alabama, but we do grow some mighty fine peaches, so I can't wait to make David L's cold peach treats (ice cream, sorbet, yogurt -- and does he have a bellini in there, I forget?) I have a feeling that I am going to love DL's ice cream. While I had issues with the custard in Dorie's, as you know, I don't think that the honey/peach combo would have been my favorite even if everything else had gone perfectly. Give me peaches & sugar! All of your frozen peach treats look amazing!

Carol Peterman/TableFare said...

I am jealous you live in peach country! Fresh peaches beat all other fruits. Isn't the library a great thing - all the cook books you want for free. I sometimes have a hard time giving them back though, and that's how I know which books I should buy.

Jen H said...

I love that you blanched the peaches to get the skins off. I always have the worst time getting the pits out of peaches, do you have any tips?

Annette said...

Wow! You were ambitious this week making three differnet peach recipes. Your ice cream looks delicious! I really like the honey/peach combination. I enjoyed reading your comaparisons and since I have The Perfect Scoop, I'll have to try his peach version too. :)

Engineer Baker said...

Wow - I don't know what I'd do with all that ice cream! Good to know Lebovitz's recipe is so good though, that might be my next i/c then. Beautiful photos throughout!