bourbon ice cream with peach swirl

There are certain things that just change when you have small kids.  One example: you stop ordering an ice cream cone for yourself, because you can be pretty confident that your sweet, sticky child will look at you about when she reaches the cone and say: “I can’t finish this.”  And you then eat the melted, spitty dregs of your kid’s ice cream cone.  And then soggy, dripping dregs of your other kid’s ice cream cone.

But every once in a while, it’s okay to indulge in a dessert that is just yours.  And this is an ice cream that is just for grown-ups: sweet cream doused with a good shot of bourbon, swirled through with a jammy peach syrup.


The base of this ice cream hails from Columbus, Ohio-based Jeni Britton Bauer, an artisanal ice cream maker  whose wares I discovered four years ago, thanks to my ice-cream connoseiur college roommate.  This summer, Jeni and her Splendid Ice Creams are striking gold, it seems.  I’ve been seeing her name and her gorgeous, creative concoctions featured in places like Food & Wine and Saveur, and she has honed her formula for the home cook and released a cookbook, which I promptly ordered, along with an ice cream maker.


Her ice cream base is all dairy – no egg yolks, which would make it frozen custard.  I typically prefer frozen custards, as it happens, but Jeni’s dairy-only base does a better job letting her creative flavors shine through.  The recipes in her book offered me just the right blend of science and flavor inspiration.  Her Cognac Ice Cream recipe, and a bushel of amazing peaches at the market, made the idea of a bourbon ice cream pop into my head, and so I tweaked and twittered, and came up with this little ditty, which has become the second dessert in a month that Husband has been unable to turn down.

With a decent dousing of unadulterated liquor in it, this scoop’s not for the kiddos.  But it’s delicious, as long as I’m patting myself on the back, and my success in creating it has me thinking about tweaking it down the line: bourbon ice cream with a maraschino cherry on top for a Manhattan Sundae?  Could do.  Goslings Black Seal Ice Cream with Crystallized Ginger for a frozen Dark & Stormy? I think I might.  If you have any ideas, give this super-simple ice cream approach a go.  Or just make vanilla – Jeni’s made it easy and absolutely worth what little time it takes.

Bourbon Ice Cream with Peach Swirl
(adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams)

For the peach swirl:
2 cups peeled, sliced peaches
1 cup sugar

Puree the peaches and sugar in a food processor until it’s as smooth as you can get it.  Put this raw puree in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring often to avoid scorching.  Boil 5-8 minutes, or until the mixture reaches 220-degrees F.  Remove from heat and cool to at least room temperature while you make the ice cream.

For the ice cream:
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened (3 tablespoons)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup bourbon

Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth.

Combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar and corn syrup in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over moderate heat.  Once the milk mixture reaches a rolling boil, continue boiling over moderate heat for 4 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the cornstarch mixture and return the milk to boil.  Let boil about one minute, until the mixture is slightly thickened.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Stir in the bourbon. Set the bowl of ice cream base an ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Pour the chilled base into your ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

To assemble the swirled ice cream:  in a plastic container that will be easy to scoop from, layer the ice cream (fresh from the maker) with the cooled peach jam, beginning and ending with the jam.  Rap the container firmly on the counter to settle the blend and eliminate air pockets.

Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream and close with an airtight lid. Freeze the ice cream until firm, about 4 hours.

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