Cooking from the Bar Cart: Churned Peach and Amaretto Ice Cream

Nutty liqueur takes a summertime favorite beyond just peachy

Photo: Blueline Creative Group

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.

See other recipes in our Cooking from the Bar Cart series.


  • Churned Peach and Amaretto Ice Cream (Serves 4)

  • For the peaches:

    • 4 ripe peaches

    • ⅓ cup amaretto, biscotti liqueur, or crème de noyaux

    • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

    • Pinch kosher salt

  • For the custard:

    • 2 cups whole milk

    • 1 (2-inch) piece vanilla bean, split

    • 6 large egg yolks

    • 1 cup sugar

    • 1 cup heavy cream

    • Pinch kosher salt

  • For the garnish (optional):

    • Toasted sliced almonds, amaretti or biscotti cookies (whole or crumbled), or sliced peaches


  1. Prepare the peaches by bringing a medium saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Drop in peaches for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water. Using a paring knife or your fingers, remove the skins from the fruit. Remove pits. Finely dice the flesh of 1 peach and spread the fruit bits out on a parchment-lined plate. Transfer the plate to the freezer. Cut the remaining fruit into chunks and place in a blender with the liqueur, lemon juice, and salt. Puree until smooth. Cover and chill.

  2. Prepare the custard by scalding the milk with the vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles begin to appear. While the milk heats, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk in a ladleful of the scalded milk to temper the eggs. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the saucepan of hot milk, whisking constantly. Heat the custard over medium-low, stirring regularly, for 5 to 10 minutes or until the liquid has thickened and just coats a wooden spoon. Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the cream, peach puree, and pinch salt. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and whisk into custard; discard pod. Transfer the mixture to a pitcher or quart-sized glass measuring cup with a lip; cover and chill at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

  3. Churn the chilled custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add the diced frozen peach bits during the last couple minutes of churning. Transfer the ice cream to a quart-sized freezer container and freeze until firm. Scoop into bowls and garnish to suit.


  5. Cheater’s No-Churn Peach Ice Cream with Amaretto Drizzle

  6. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, make the peach puree from 3 peaches and without the liqueur. Stir the puree into softened store-bought vanilla ice cream and refreeze it. Scoop the ice cream into bowls and pour a tablespoon or two of the liqueur over each serving. Garnish to suit.


Katherine Cobbs is a cookbook author and editor. Her recent books are Pantry Cocktails (2021), Tequila & Tacos (2020), and Cookies & Cocktails (2019) published by Simon & Schuster. She also developed recipes for Garden & Gun’s The Southerner’s Cookbook – Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories.