Apparently, when I was photographing this peach ice cream, I was clearly not all about that scoop life.
And it was only after I started slicing this block rather than digging out my never-used & only-owned-for-photo-shoots scooper that I remembered the earliest ice cream in my memories came in a long, rectangular cardboard sleeve.
The kind of ice cream that was probably more Neapolitan food coloring than cream, made to be sliced in thick wedges and sandwiched between two soon to be soggy slivers of polystyrene-esque orthoganal wafers.
Any (British?) kid of a certain age knows that the best way to eat those ice cream sandwiches was to work your way around the edges, catching any ice cream that dared to drip its way out of its wafery prison well before it escaped. Then you gradually pressed the two sandwich sides closer and closer together with a sticky set of fists as the amount of remaining ice cream dwindled more and more. Repeat until all that’s left is the now definitely sodden & over-squished wafer casings. Bonus points if you chucked them away after eating the best bit: the filling, duh.
This peach ice cream doesn’t have much in common with the ice cream stashed in my Nana’s dodgily iced-over freezer. For one, peaches be fancy, yo. I really don’t remember eating them until my twenties, although I can’t bring myself to believe that can possibly be accurate.
I suppose what I really mean is that I can’t remember a peach worth eating until my twenties, when I can remember holding a warm, improbably fist sized peach in my hand for the first time.
Maybe it’s living somewhere that summer seems to last seventy percent of the year; maybe it’s the fact that I don’t feel the urge to mentally calculate exactly how many sit ups I’m gonna have to do to make this fistful of fruit “worth it”. But fruit started to taste like something other than sadness and future regret after I let go of the notion that somehow I had to pay for every bite.
And so, that first peach that I remember enjoying? Maybe it’s because it was the first time I’d ever really tasted what I was eating. Perhaps it was the way it near-burst on an attempted bite, prompting me to run – shrieking – towards my kitchen sink in a futile attempt to avoid wearing the juices already sliding their way along my wrists. It could have been the way that I had to eat it like some kind of sucrose-starved fledgling fruit bat, vainly trying not to waste a drop of the ripeness exploding, at least partially, into the dull stainless steel basin below me.
Or maybe it was just the best peach I’d ever eaten.
Of course, I’d never understood the way people got very over-dramatic about peach season when I’d grown up somewhere that wasn’t exactly a peach growing wonderland. And even after living in the US for several years, the summer’s fruity frenzy never made sense to me, either, until that peach-meets-sink experience.
Now, though, I totally get it. And though I’m not quite at peach hoarding status yet, I look forward to them every year, waiting until they’re fresh and fragrant enough that they literally call to me from across an aisle or street.
This peach ice cream is, however, one of the best ways I know to prolong that peach season just a little longer. I usually end up making it in a fever of “I bought another crate of peaches, even though there are only two people in this house and I cannot possibly eat them all before they go bad!” almost-regret. I mean, it’s not really regret if you end up with ice cream at the end of a panic, right?
This recipe works best with the sweetest peaches you can humanly get your hands on. Those peaches that are aaaaalmost on their last legs, but are still somehow hanging on? Yup, those are great here, because they’re as sweet as they can possibly be and texture is less important when you’re gonna freeze your fruit, anyway.
If you’ve skipped ahead and taken a peek at the recipe, you’ll see that this dairy & egg free peach ice cream recipe has a surprise ingredient: unsweetened banana chips.
If you’ve made coconut based ice cream before, you’ll have already noticed how it’s not really the same as its dairy-based cousins. Despite the much higher fat content of coconut vs milk, it can still be icy, or worse, grainy. That holds doubly true if you’re trying to avoid eggs or stabilizers & emulsifiers like xanthum or guar gum.
Back then, I used them purely as a thickener, to help give that creamier mouthfeel and more whipped texture that an ice cream based shake would have, rather than just ending up with a thinner, salted caramel smoothie type texture.
You absolutely must use unsweetened & unflavored dried banana chips for this – like these. Otherwise, the fake banana flavor that is so commonly added to store bought banana chips will totally overwhelm the peach ice cream.
You can leave them out completely if you like, but the banana chips do a couple different things here: they thicken the peach ice cream, which helps to avoid the typical iciness of other vegan recipes & they help emulsify the fat of the coconut cream so that the ice cream doesn’t have the separation of fat & water that make vegan coconut ice cream grainy.
One last thing: don’t be tempted to cut down on the level of sugar from the honey. Yes, the banana chips have an element of natural sugars, too, but sugar plays an important role in keeping ice cream, well, creamy rather than icy. Lowering the sugar content any more than I have here will likely have not-so-great consequences.
You can, of course, scoop this peach ice cream if you like! Just make sure to leave it out in the refrigerator for 15 – 30 minutes or so before scooping, so that it has time to soften. If you like, you can also eat it straight after churning; it will have more of a soft serve texture then, which is really quite lovely, too.Print
Honeyed Ginger Peach Ice Cream Slice
This naturally sweetened peach ice cream is the perfect way to celebrate summer. Ripe peaches meet creamy, honey & spice kissed dairy & egg free ice cream.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes, plus freezing time
- Yield: 8 cups / 2 quarts 1x
- Category: ice cream
- Method: freezer, ice cream maker
- 1 1/2 cups / 135 g unsweetened, unflavored banana chips, see notes, I like these
- 27 US fl. oz / 800 ml / 3 1/3 cups room temperature coconut cream, see notes, I like this one
- 2 tbsp / 18 g arrowroot starch
- 1/2 cup / 120 ml honey
- 2 tsp / 6 g ground ginger
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder, I like this one
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 lb / 565 g peaches, about 3 large
PREP: Follow the instructions on your ice cream maker to freeze the mixing bowl 24 hours before you want to use it.
SOAK: Add the unsweetened, unflavored banana chips to a bowl and cover with hot, near boiling, water. Let sit until softened, about 15 minutes or so, then drain & discard the water.
THICKEN: Pour the rest of the coconut cream into a saucepan, then add the honey & ground ginger. Over medium-low heat, warm up the coconut cream mixture, then whisk in the arrowroot slurry. Bring to a light simmer – don’t let the mixture get close to a boil – and cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 – 10 minutes.
BLEND: Remove the coconut cream ice cream base from the heat and pour it into a blender pitcher. Add the vanilla bean powder, salt & the reserved, soaked & softened banana chips. Blend until completely smooth, but don’t over process or the cream can curdle & separate. (See notes for if this happens.)
CHILL: Transfer the ice cream base to the refrigerator and chill until cold, at least 2 hours.
LINE: Line the inside of a large loaf pan (I used a 10 inch pan that can hold up to 8 cups.) with plastic wrap and then line the pan again with two pieces of parchment paper that overhang the edges of the loaf pan on all sides.
DICE: Peel or blanch the peaches to remove their skins. Dice them into bite size pieces & reserve.
CHURN: Pour the chilled ice cream base mixture into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, until you have a thickened, partially frozen, soft serve like consistency.
STIR THROUGH: Add the diced peaches and churn long enough for them to be evenly distributed throughout the ice cream.
FREEZE: Pour the peach ice cream into the lined loaf pan. Fold over the parchment and press it lightly into the surface of the ice cream, then fold over plastic wrap over the top to seal the loaf pan. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.
SERVE: Transfer the loaf pan to the refrigerator and allow the ice cream mixture to soften enough that you can lift out the whole block from the loaf pan by holding the parchment paper pieces, at least 15 – 30 minutes or so, depending on the thickness of of your ice cream. Place the ice cream block on a chopping board and slice into even pieces. Serve alongside additional fresh peach slices, drizzled with extra honey & garnished with fresh mint, if you like.
The dried banana chips are used here to make the coconut cream ice cream base thicker, less icy and help emulsify everything together so that you don’t get the separation of coconut cream fat & water which can make coconut based ice creams grainy.
You absolutely MUST make sure to choose a brand of banana chips that is unsweetened & unflavored, as the additives used to add “banana flavor” will overpower & ruin the flavor of the ice cream. (I like these & they’re also top 12 allergy friendly.) You can also, of course, leave out the banana chips completely, but the result will be less creamy and more icy overall, with a harder-to-scoop texture.
You want the coconut cream at room temperature so that it is liquid enough to make a lump-free slurry with the arrowroot starch. If it is refrigerated or too cold, it will be too solid for this to work, so you may have to warm it very gently first.
If your blender overheats the mixture by over processing the coconut cream mixture, you can return it back to the stovetop. Warm it through very gently, stirring often, until the fat and water have re-emulsified. Give the mixture a quick blend in the saucepan using an immersion blender to make sure it has re-combined evenly, then follow the rest of the recipe as written above.