When I first developed this recipe, more than a few folks thought the peach preserves were a crazy addition. But consider this: Jams and preserves contain pectins, which are gigantic molecules that have considerable gelling power. Including just a wee bit not only smoothes out the texture and elevates the subtler flavor of the vanilla; it can also actually delay melting a bit.
And as you know by now, salt, in small amounts, can turn up the volume on almost any flavor. I include a pinch in most dessert applications.
Serious Vanilla Ice Cream
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 cup heavy cream*
- 5 1/2 ounces sugar
- 2 ounces peach preserves or jam (not jelly)
- 1 vanilla bean (split and scraped)
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- Combine the half-and-half and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat.. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer and bring the mixture to 175 degrees F, stirring occasionally.** Remove from heat.
- Add the sugar, preserves, vanilla bean and salt, and keep stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved, then cover and steep 20 minutes.
- Fish out the vanilla pod and transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
- Assemble your ice cream churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re using an electric machine, turn it on, then pour in the ice cream mixture. (This will prevent seizing.)
- Churn the ice cream until it reaches soft-serve consistency and almost doubles in volume.
- Move to an airtight container and harden in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.
* Heavy cream is often labeled “heavy whipping cream” or “whipping cream” and has a fat content of 36 to 40 percent.
** Why the heat? Well, for one thing, we need to dissolve the sugar, but just as important, we need to shut down certain chemical structures in the dairy that could be an impediment to the smoothness we so desire.