This is my contribution to this month’s #LetsLunch, a monthly virtual potluck on Twitter. This month’s theme is childhood summer memories. We’re also honoring the memory of Winfried, father-in-law to Karen from Geofooding, this month’s host.
I’m a rabid fan of stone fruits and look forward to summer, when they are gloriously in season. I’m especially fond of the floral sweetness of white peaches and their resemblance to my older daughter’s rosy cheeks when she was a baby; her rosy cheeks might have had something to do with the 3 or more white peaches I ate a day when I was pregnant with her.
But my love of peaches goes even further back, to my own childhood. In elementary school I lived in a semi-rural area with nearby farms and orchards. One of the biggest was a “you-pick” kind of place, Lewin Farms in Wading River, on the North Shore of Eastern Long Island. I have memories of picking strawberries there and emerging with hands and face stained a tell-tale crimson. I also remember the slightly more challenging (to my then 4 foot frame) peach picking, with the exciting goal of finding perfect peaches. I would eat them until the juices would run down my cheeks and forearms. (I am starting to wonder how helpful I was as a fruit picker.)
Me, age 7 or 8, round faced and pouty from being held back from peach-picking to pose for this picture.
Even further back, I remember the fresh peach ice cream I had one of the last summer days I spent with my Auntie Number One. That was the name of the neighbor down the street from where my family lived in Barrington, Rhode Island, in the early 70s. She was our first babysitter. I don’t think I ever really knew her real name– she was just Auntie Number One to me.
Apologies for the blurry scanned picture. That’s Auntie Number One with a hand on my shoulder, likely reassuring me after some spat with my brother, center.
Auntie Number One was kind and patient. She introduced my brother and me to lots of American things which our immigrant parents weren’t yet familiar with– fresh baked pies, trick or treating, things like that. Many memories are from summer. We went to the beach, we ran around the neighborhood and climbed rocks which appeared to be huge boulders back then. I remember a lot of ice cream, too. There was an incident with mint chocolate chip ice cream from the Newport Creamery which decapitated itself from the cone and left me in tears. The one ice cream memory which stands out most was a few years later, after we had moved to Long Island, and we came back to visit. It was August and she had made homemade peach ice cream. I had never tasted anything so wonderful. It’s one of my favorite food memories to this day.
Auntie Number One’s Fresh Peach Ice Cream
While Auntie Number One is no longer around to share her ice cream recipe (or stories), I found a wonderful recipe which comes close to my memories.
Adapted from Saveur 8/7/14
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 egg yolks
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 lb ripe yellow peaches (2 large), chopped (leave peel on)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1. Place milk in the top of a double boiler and bring just to a simmer over gently boiling water over medium heat.
2. While the milk is heating, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and ¾ cup of the sugar in a mixing bowl. Lightly whisk ¼ cup of the hot milk into egg mixture, then whisk egg mixture into remaining milk in top of double boiler. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture is thick enough to coat the spoon, about 15 minutes.
3. Transfer the mixture, called the custard, to a mixing bowl; stir in 1¼ cups heavy cream; refrigerate until cold, 2 hours or overnight.
4. Macerate the peaches: combine peaches, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl; the peel will add a rosy color. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
5. When the custard has cooled and the peaches have macerated for at least 2 hours, drain the juice and return peaches to the refrigerator. Then stir the peach juice into the cream base. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Just before mixture is set, add the peaches.
Thanks for coming by. Please see these other blast-from-the-past recipes and stories from my #LetsLunch friends:
Grace’s mung bean popsicles
Karen’s salt water taffy
Eleanor’s Malaysian char kuey teow
Lisa’s Aunty Myrna’s cabbage rolls
Betty Ann’s Filipino corn soup
Cheryl’s real Singapore noodles
Vivian’s clever mess less ham and cheese