It's been quiet around here, I know. It's not that I haven't been blogging, it's that I haven't been eating. People, it's too damn hot. All I can stand to do, besides drinking so much water it's coming out of my ears, is eat a yogurt every now and then, or maybe a graham cracker or two, and even that might be pushing it. Leafing through my recipes while I wilted in the heat brought me absolutely no satisfaction and the most appetizing thing I could think to do was to go sit in an air-conditioned movie theater (watching this, which you must must must go see) and drink yet another bottle of water.
But then I realized that the latest Sugar High Friday was going to feature frozen desserts and when I stumbled across this simple three-ingredient recipe which transforms frozen sugar-sweetened peaches and a dollop of yogurt into gelato without an ice cream machine, I figured I had to try it out. The recipe comes from Russ Parsons (who else?) who learned the technique from a Sicilian chef named Ciccio Sultano (I have a distant cousin named Ciccio in southern Italy, so this endeared the recipe to me from the get-go) who was named by Gambero Rosso to be one of the great young chefs cooking in Italy a few years ago.
But let's be honest, the most appealing thing about the recipe was the short ingredient list and the simplicity. Peeling three pounds of peaches sounds annoying, but it took me less than 15 minutes. I chopped the peeled peaches into small dice, then froze them in a single layer. I went out for a drink to celebrate the last day of Ben's job (Ben got a new job! Cause for much rejoicing around these parts) and came back to whizz the frozen peaches in the food processor with a bit of sugar and a few spoonfuls of yogurt.
After a minute of processing, a creamy, pink mass came together in the bowl. I tried a spoonful - it was delicious. I put the bowl into the freezer to firm up for another 20 minutes and then had myself of bowlful of the light, refreshing gelato. Not too sweet or slickly fat, the peach flavor was gorgeous and the consistency was satisfyingly creamy. I froze the rest of the gelato overnight and it crystallized and became much harder - all you have to do to remedy this is pulse it in the food processor again (my camera pooped out last night, so what you're seeing up there is the crystallized, more frozen version from this morning).
But you really should eat this the same night you make it - it's just better and fresher that way. Besides, what else are you eating in this heat that you can't have gelato for dinner?
Makes 6 to 8 servings
3 pounds peaches, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste
1/2 cup mascarpone, creme fraiche or yogurt
1. Cut the peaches into very small pieces. The smaller you cut them, the faster they will freeze and the finer the final texture will be. Arrange the peach pieces in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet and freeze solid, about 2 hours.
2. Put the frozen peach pieces in a food processor with the sugar and grind briefly. Add the mascarpone and pulse until the mixture is smooth.
3. Empty the food processor into a small container and freeze again, 20 to 30 minutes, before serving. If the ice cream freezes solid, simply process it again briefly before serving.