A juicy, perfectly ripe peach practically salivates with you as you bite into the fragrant, sweet flesh. It’s a primal summer pleasure, perhaps made even more enjoyable by the fruit’s fleeting season. From freestones and clingstones to white- or yellow-fleshed peaches, varieties abound, but the perfect peach is one that gives slightly to pressure; isn’t bruised, wrinkled, or split at the seam; and has blushing skin with a fiery sunset glow. Keep in mind that peaches will continue to ripen once picked, so the key is choosing fruit that will be perfectly ripe and juicy when you’re ready to make this ice cream.
Next to eating a just-plucked beauty over the sink, my favorite way to enjoy peaches is in ice cream churned with amaretto. You could also substitute biscotti liqueur or crème de noyaux. Each of these liqueurs is made from almonds or the pits of peaches or apricots (all members of the Prunus family), so they share a similar nutty aroma and flavor that pair nicely with stone fruit in desserts. In addition to the complementary flavors these liqueurs lend to the classic mix of peaches and cream, the dose of alcohol keeps the ice cream from forming crystals so that it remains soft, scoopable, and never gritty. Try this recipe with ripe nectarines, plums, and apricots, too.