peach ice cream with sour cream and black pepper

peach ice cream

Oddly enough, one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is to temper eggs and make egg custards. Funny, how something that made me anxious just few years back is now a favorite activity in the kitchen. My fear caused me to resist egg custard-based recipes for years, until I finally bit the bullet, gave it a try, and found that it’s really not so terrible or difficult.

Tempering isn’t exactly rocket science, but it is slow, measured, deliberate, patient. So if drizzling hot cream while whisking it into eggs makes you crazy just thinking about it, tempering might not be that enjoyable to you. I, on the other hand, find it meditative, much like focusing on your breath in yoga. Tempering requires that you make fast friends with your custard, one trickle of hot cream at a time, turning eggs into a lush, golden-hued, velvety fluid.

peach ice cream

But sadly, much as tempering eggs delights me, egg-based ice creams in the summer – do not. It’s too heavy, too lush for my palate, and the peak-season fruit, which I love to use, gets obfuscated by the eggs’ thickness. Because what I really seek, what my ice cream-fervent brain craves, is a lighter, cleaner base. This is the season I turn to the American-style, eggless ice creams and don’t look back until it’s time to revisit my sweaters again. And I find that for fruit-based ice creams, with a few exceptions, it’s the better choice – the less rich ice cream base allows the fruit to really shine. Plus, when it’s as hot outside as the heat wave most of the US has just experienced, I seek cleaner, lighter flavors.

peach ice cream

I had dog-eared this recipe from David Lebovitz’ “The Perfect Scoop” last summer – a book used so often that practically every page has a sticky finger print. Except that last year, I couldn’t get my hands on worthwhile peaches – they all ended up either in a quick summer jam or tucked into pies. But I have a long, elephant memory, and things that I don’t get around to making during one season, get filed in my brain and remain there until the season makes a come back.

peach ice cream

Most of the time my patience pays off – it certainly paid off this time. The ice cream is luscious and summery – it teases you with the promise of a cool breeze, and stirs up desire for a porch with a swing set, and iced tea at your side and sandals carelessly thrown in the corner. Its reserved sweetness begs to be a faithful pie companion – a messy dollop melting over the crust. But if all else fails – and, like me, your apartment is like a hothouse with no breeze but the soft hiss of the air conditioner; you lack a porch, never mind a swing set; and you ate all the pie already – there’s always a spoon and a chair and a table and you.

peach ice cream
peach ice cream

More Ice Creams and Sorbets on Sassy Radish:
Mango Sorbet
Frozen Yogurt
Black Pepper Ice Cream (I sure love my black pepper!)
Buttermilk Granita with Strawberries in Balsamic
Sour Cream Ice Cream
Strawberry Basil Sorbet
Watermelon Sorbet

Peach Ice Cream with Sour Cream and Black Pepper
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”

This ice cream is pretty much perfect as David wrote it – he does not write sub-par recipes, if you’re at all familiar with his work. But I wanted a little more mystery in my ice cream, which, for me, meant a tiny addition of freshly ground black pepper. With each spoon, you get a slight hint of pepper, which makes the peaches taste more, dare I say, peachy? I also used a really nice peach liquor to help with a smoother consistency, but if you wish to omit either or both from the ingredients, you certainly can.

1 1/2 pounds (600 grams) ripe peaches (about 6 small peaches, 4 large)
3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (120 grams) sour cream
1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
1 teaspoon peach liqueur
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1. To blanch the peaches, make an X incision at the bottom of each peach, and submerge the peaches in boiling water for 20 seconds. Immediately, using a slotted spoon, plunge the peaches into an ice bath; allow peaches to cool. Once cool peel the peaches, slice them in half, and remove the pits. Cut the peaches into chunks, and cook them in 1/2 cup (118 ml) water in a medium, non-reactive saucepan, over medium heat, covered, stirring once or twice, until soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove the peaches from heat, stir in the sugar, and allow to cool to room temperature.

2. Puree the cooked peaches and their liquid, in a blender or food processor with the sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice and black pepper until almost smooth but slightly chunky.

3. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, at least 2 hours, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes 1 quart.


  • Molly

    This sounds absolutely heavenly. However, I have developed a bit of a problem with this year’s peaches: Every time I buy some for baking, or making them into ice cream like this one, I end up eating them.There’s just something about a peach’s juices dripping down my wrist that gets me every time.

  • My Little Expat Kitchen

    Your photographs for this post are beautiful. That light is so amazing it can only be natural, right?
    I have been making a lot of ice cream this summer and I can never get enough of it. My favorite has been strawberry without eggs and this seems like it’s gonna be the ice cream for the rest of my summer. I love peaches.

  • Sarah

    This sounds just decadent, yet light enough to make for the perfect summer treat. Now all I need is an ice cream maker…

  • Janae

    I totally agree with you on the egg-based custards in summer. I recently made Dorie G’s Honey-Peach ice cream, and though it was good, I felt it mainly tasted like the egg/vanilla base and the peaches didn’t shine at all. In fact, they sort of lost their bright, summery flavor and tasted bland against the vanilla. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good, but summer peaches are way too precious to get lost in an ice cream! I’ll have to give this egg-less method a try instead! (I love the sound of black pepper in it!)

  • Gretchen @

    I am so in love with peaches right now! I got a little crazy and bought a big box of them. I made my mom’s “peaches ‘n’ cream” pie (with a cornmeal crust) last night to use up some of them and then my son and I devoured some for our afternoon snack. But now I need more peaches to make this ice cream!

  • Whitney

    I totally just ate a peach straight up as a snack. I will have to give this ice cream a whirl this weekend. Black pepper sounds lie such a great call.

  • heather @ chiknpastry

    good point about the custard being too thick for hot summers. i guess i usually agree too, but since I just moved to San Francisco, it didn’t stop me this year and I literally just made a thick, creamy chocolate caramel ice cream :).

    next stop – peach!

  • EB

    What a great addition. I made his original and loved it, but I think the pepper would such a perfect compliment!

  • Ruth

    This looks divine! David’s ice cream recipes never fail – and it looks as thought this one is no exception! Thanks!

  • Rebecca Nab Young

    Mastering the recipes that once intimidated us the most, that is always satisfying. And I find that it leads to an obsession with that technique or ingredient afterward.

  • Radish

    Elle – actually that’s next to genius. I think you should do it and let me know what you think!

  • Emily

    I’ve been in spring-cleaning mode lately; nothing is safe, not even my recipes folder, so I’ve been taking the time to weed through all my bookmarks. You wouldn’t believe how much crap has accumulated there (the relics from a low-fat diet a while back are especially laughable… picture a “protein ice cream” calling for xanthan and guar gums) but that’s not the point; what I meant to say is, I remember how much this ice cream piqued my interest when you posted it last summer. I, too, have a problem with perfect summer peaches: they’re in my stomach almost as soon as they come off the tree. But this ice cream sounds so damn good that I’m going to make sure to set a few aside and try it. The only thing is, I’m 16 and my parents aren’t too keen on buying specialty liqueurs… perhaps I’ll try a teaspoon of amaretto in place of the peach liqueur. Ooh, or bourbon would be classic, although it might clash with the pepper? Either way, I’ll report back and let you know how it goes. Oh, July, you can’t possibly come soon enough. I’m tapping my foot impatiently…

  • Radish

    Emily – i totally get the parents not into the specialty liquor thing. That said, rummage around and let me know what you’ve got *when the time comes* and we can figure it out together :)

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