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Celebrate Vermouth With Peach Lillet Ice Cream

By Staff in Food on Oct 7, 2014 4:10PM

Photo by Scott Greenberg

Aperitifs are a grossly underestimated thing. For those of you who are (sadly and/or tragically) not in the know, aperitifs are a type of drink meant to stimulate your palette before the main course. For those of you who can’t read that previous sentence without picturing someone with an English accent and a monocle—you drink it and it makes the tasty stuff taste tastier.

Unfortunately, a lot of people are put off by the stuff, largely because some popular aperitifs are bitter to the point of tasting like licorice that’s been run over by a 1974 Ford Pinto (looking at you, Campari). Luckily for you nice, well-meaning people who enjoy not having your taste buds obliterated beyond recognition, there’s Lillet Blanc a mild, well-mannered French aperitifs made of Bourdeaux wines, sweet orange peels from Spain and Morocco, and bitter green orange peels from Haiti. It’s unassuming, but it’s also got enough bite to let you know what the hell it is you’re drinking. What more could you want?

Ice cream. You could want ice cream.

And that’s the perfect thing to want; good answer! You get a gold star or a “re-tweet” or whatever the hell I’m allowed to give you over the internet.

Liquor and ice cream go together like…well, like liquor and ice cream. We defy you to come up with a combination that’s both more self-indulgent, delicious, and legal in the contiguous United States.

More than the mere fact that both of those things just taste good, and taste better together, there’s a science-y reason for dumping booze in your ice cream. Turns out alcohol has an absurdly low freezing point, which is why you can find that year-old bottle of cheap vodka in the back of your freezer ready to pour, and ready to remind you how much of a disappointment junior prom was all over again. When you add it to ice cream, you get the same effect (minus the messy prom stuff)—a dessert that stays creamy and delicious, and doesn’t get all filled with ice crystals the way the store-bought stuff does.

Regardless, you’re getting ice cream at the end of this, so pipe down and do what the nice man says. And pour yourself a glass while you’re at it—it tends to make this whole cooking process slightly better.

Peach Lillet Ice Cream

1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ¼ cup sugar
4 ripe peaches
A pinch of salt
1 ½ cups heavy cream
5 egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup Lillet Blanc—a delicious vermouth

Crumbly Bits
5 Tablespoons butter (cold)
½ cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
A pinch of salt

Here’s what you do:
First, slice up the peaches (make sure you keep the skin on) and throw them in a bowl with a 1/2 cup of sugar. Toss them around a bit so the sugar covers the peaches, then cover the bowl and leave them to macerate (that’s a fancy word for “sit there covered in sugar”) for an hour. Puree them once they’ve had time to get sugary.

While the peaches are getting tastier, fill a large bowl full of ice, pour a cup of the heavy cream into a smaller bowl, and put the small bowl on the ice to chill.

Stir the milk, the rest of the sugar, salt, and the rest of the cream together in a medium pot on medium heat. Let it get just hot enough to start steaming, then take it off heat.

Whisk together the egg yolks in a small bowl and slowly whisk in the heated cream stuff. You wanna be whisking like a madman this whole time, because you’re going to end up with some scrambled eggs if you don’t. Scrambled eggs in ice cream are gross. I checked.

Pour the whole thing back into your pot and put it back on medium-low heat, again making sure it’s not boiling. Stir it for about 10 minutes, until you can run your finger down the back of the spoon and leave a visible trail. If it’s not thick enough, cook it for longer.

Strain the creamy stuff into the bowl of chilled cream, then stir in the pureed peaches and vanilla. Keep stirring until it cools down to room temperature, then chill it overnight in your fridge.

For the crumble, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Make sure you do this ahead of time; you want the crumblies to be nice and cool when you mix them into the ice cream.

Throw all the ingredients into a bowl and mash them together with a pastry cutter until they’re formed into roughly pebble-sized bits, which is possibly the worst food-related analogy.

Spread the crumble around on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for around 30 minutes, until they’re…well, crumbly. What were you expecting, a wedding cake?

Throw the ice cream into your ice cream maker, and add the crumblies and the Lillet. Churn until it’s ice cream, then freeze until it’s even ice creamier. Then eat it.

Hopefully, by this point, you ended up with a pint or two of some pretty damn delicious ice cream. Equally as hopefully, you didn’t take that “pour yourself a glass” too literally and end up a babbling heap on your kitchen floor. Either way, at least you’ll be able to scoop yourself something tasty when you wake up.

Adapted from Scott's original recipe here.

By Scott Greenberg