This rich and creamy peach gelato highlights one of summer’s quintessential fruits to perfection: fresh peach puree is both mixed into the gelato and rippled through it for a double dose of stone fruit sweetness.
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What’s your favorite dessert to make with fresh peaches? Crisps and cakes are always at the top of my list, but I also like to use them to make special occasion desserts such as cream puffs. This year though, my new favorite peach treat is a rich and beautifully fruity gelato.
This Fresh Peach Gelato combines my go-to super creamy Sicilian Gelato Base with fresh peach puree, which is both mixed into the base and then swirled into the frozen gelato, and diced peach too. The result is a wonderfully peach-forward frozen treat, perfect for celebrating summer’s most aromatic stone fruit.
Ripe peaches will provide the purest, juiciest flavor to this fresh peach gelato. Here are tips to help you pick the best peaches to make this recipe.
You can find out when a peach is ripe and ready to eat based on two factors: smell and touch. An underripe peach doesn’t give off any significant aroma, whereas a ripe peach smells like peach pie or peach jam. Smelling a ripe peach should make your mouth water.
A ripe peach should also feel soft to your very gentle touch. You can easily bruise a ripe peach by pressing it firmly with a finger. If peaches bruise simply by sitting on the counter or against one another, it means they’re probably overripe. Overripe peaches might be too soft for some uses, but they provide amazing flavor to this fresh peach gelato.
Unless you live close to where peaches are grown, fresh peaches you’ll buy at the store will likely be underripe. Peaches are shipped underripe to ensure they won’t be turned to mush during transportation.
To ripen peaches at home, set peaches on a side layer over a large plate and let them rest on your kitchen countertop, checking on them twice a day. If there’s a window nearby, placing peaches in the warmth of the sun to help. Underripe peaches can take up to three days to ripen. (See tips to speed up this process below.)
Once peaches are ripe, they can turn to mush pretty quickly, so either eat or use them right away, or refrigerate them to stop the ripening process (make sure to use ripe refrigerated peaches within two days).
Place fresh, underripe peaches in a paper bag along with a ripe banana or an apple. Fold the bag shut and leave it on your kitchen countertop. The peaches are likely to ripen in a single day, so make sure to check on them regularly to stop the process as soon as they are ready. Once the peaches are ripe, either eat or use them right away, or refrigerate them to stop the ripening process.
This recipe requires you to peel peaches before you use them to make a fresh peach puree. Most peach-peeling techniques advise you to dunk peaches in boiling water for a few seconds, then transfer them to ice cold water. While this technique works, I’ve always found it to take way too much time—not to mention it requires you to dirty way too many additional dishes.
To quickly and easily peel peaches, running a knife around the pit, then twisting each side in opposite directions. Remove the pit, then use a vegetable peeler to quickly and easily remove the skin from both peach halves. Slice the peach halves, then use in the recipe as indicated.
One last tip before you get churning: Plan Ahead!
Gelato custard should be cold from the fridge when you pour it into your ice cream maker. Churning a very cold gelato base (as opposed to a warm or room temperature one) produces the creamiest result. While you can fast-forward the cooling process over an ice bath, it’s best to simply prep the base a day ahead. That way you can cool it overnight and simply churn and freeze this fresh peach gelato the morning after.
If you’ve never made gelato, I invite you to read my detailed how-to post about the process. You can also watch my video class: How to Make Gelato: Tips and Recipes to Make the Delightful Italian Frozen Treat. In it, you’ll find out what makes gelato different from ice cream, how to make a versatile gelato base you can turn into a variety of flavors, and all my secrets and tips to churn and serve outstanding gelato. I even share how to make dairy-free vegan gelato! In short, it’s a very thorough, colorful class that will quickly turn you into a gelato master. Watch Now!
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