Peach-Balsamic Swirl Ice Cream

This custard-based frozen dessert has an ultravelvety texture and flavor.

I’m an ice cream purist. I believe ice cream should always be made with egg yolks and heavy cream. The following peach-balsamic swirl ice cream is a custard-based frozen dessert based on the French-style of ice cream and starts with a crème anglaise. Most American ice cream is Philadelphia-style and made without the extra effort of a stirred custard. Although the fresh taste of the cream stands out, Philadelphia-style ice cream tends to be icy and not nearly as rich as its French counterpart. An ultravelvety texture and flavor is achieved by simply allowing the ice cream base to mature in the refrigerator overnight. This crucial step allows the egg and dairy proteins to unwind and wiggle themselves together into a silky custard. I use this trick with baked custard bases, too, like crème brûlée and flan.

Not interested in a peach-balsamic flavor? The following ice cream base recipe is delicious on its own or can be flavored to your preference – try steeping fresh herbs into the dairy, swirling in jam at the end or topping with tiny chocolate shavings and cookie crumbles.

Christy Augustin has had a lifelong love affair with all things sweet. After working as a pastry chef in New Orleans and St. Louis, she opened Pint Size Bakery & Coffee in St. Louis’ Lindenwood Park in 2012. She calls herself the baker of all things good and evil. Learn more at

Peach-Balsamic Swirl Ice Cream

Yields | 1 quart |

Peach-Balsamic Swirl

  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 fresh peaches, peeled and chopped into large dice
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Ice Cream Base

  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 1½ cups whole milk, divided
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ice bath
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

| Preparation – Peach-Balsamic Swirl | In a saucepot over low heat, simmer honey and peaches just until juices are released. Macerate overnight in refrigerator. The next day, strain peaches from juice, reserving both. In a saucepot over medium heat, cook juices with balsamic vinegar until a thick syrup consistency. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature and stir back into macerated peaches.

| Preparation – Ice Cream Base | In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, combine cream, ¾ cup milk, ½ cup sugar and salt and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks with remaining sugar until pale. Whisk warmed cream mixture into yolks by pouring in a thin stream.

Add mixture back into pan and cook on low heat, never simmering, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula. It’s fully cooked when a finger run down a spoon leaves a trail through thickened custard. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into remaining milk. Chill in a bowl over an ice bath and refrigerate overnight. The next day, after preparing and cooling peach-balsamic swirl, freeze according to ice cream maker’s instructions. When nearly done churning, drizzle peach-balsamic swirl into machine. Freeze at least 3 hours or overnight.

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