Down in Harnett County, there’s a little old church that’s dear to my heart. As a kid, I remember having dinner on the grounds there. All types of foods were spread out over tables set up under trees in the churchyard.
Of it all, I remember the ice cream the best. My cousins and I watched as men took turns cranking an old wooden ice cream maker. They knew us kids couldn’t manage to turn the handle, but they let us try anyway. But we did help hold down the ice cream freezer as the men cranked. They spread a towel across the top of it and each kid took a turn sitting down until the ice cream was ready.
We were one happy bunch when we each received a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I still remember how the Watkins Vanilla Flavoring and fresh milk gave it a smooth, creamy taste that could cool down a hot summer Sunday afternoon.
That little church isn’t in the best shape now, but it still stands and continues to hold Sunday services. I suppose one day it might be torn down, but the memories I made there will stay with me forever.
Speaking of ice cream, I received first place last year at the N.C. State Fair for my peach preserves. I figured they might be good in some homemade ice cream, so I came up with the recipe below. In addition to the preserves, it calls for fresh peaches and brown sugar. A custard base makes it light and not too sweet. I hope you’ll try it.
Peach Preserve Ice Cream
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 10-12 servings
4 large, ripe, fresh peaches
5 large egg yolks
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup of whole milk + more to fill container as needed.
1 can of Eagle Brand condensed milk
1 cup of peach preserves
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed Lemon juice
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
½ tsp. of salt
Peel peaches, remove pits, slice and cut into small bite sized pieces. Place in a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice, stir and set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar and salt. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add one cup of whole milk and one can of Eagle Brand condensed milk. Use a candy thermometer and bring the milk to 175 degrees for about one minute.
While stirring vigorously, very slowly add a little of the milk mixture to the egg mixture. Whisk it briskly and continue to slowly add the remaining milk until it’s all incorporated into the egg mixture. Pour this back into the saucepan and place back over medium heat. Add the fresh peaches and vanilla extract.
Stirring constantly, cook for 3-5 minutes, just until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Wipe your finger across the back of the spoon. If the mixture doesn’t run back together, it’s ready. Do not overcook. Remove from heat.
Set the pan in an empty sink, surround with cool water and let cool, stirring occasionally. When cool, cover the container and refrigerate overnight to let flavors meld together.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your ice cream freezer to make the ice cream using this base and enough whole milk to reach the fill line on your freezer. When hardened, scoop into serving dish, garnish with a bit more peach preserves and serve.
This recipe originally appeared on Steve Gordon’s Taste of Southern website. Click here for a complete step-by-step photo illustrated version of this recipe.