Lemon verbena ice cream with poached peaches

Lemon verbena ice cream with poached peaches
  • Serves icon Serves 8
  • Time icon Hands-on time 30 min, simmering time 15 min, plus overnight chilling

Debbie Major’s peach dessert recipe goes wonderfully with buttery madeleines.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
707kcals
Fat
40.2g (23.5g saturated)
Protein
6.3g
Carbohydrates
81.3g (81.3g sugars)
Fibre
2.8g
Salt
0.2g
Calories
707kcals
Fat
40.2g (23.5g saturated)
Protein
6.3g
Carbohydrates
81.3g (81.3g sugars)
Fibre
2.8g
Salt
0.2g

Ingredients

For the poached peaches

  • 350g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, slit open lengthways
  • Pared zest 2 lemons, juice 1
  • 8 firm but ripe yellow peaches (or see tips)
  • Bowl iced water for cooling

For the lemon verbena ice cream

  • 500ml whole milk
  • 15g fresh lemon verbena leaves, shredded (see tip for alternatives), plus sprigs to decorate
  • 6 large free-range egg yolks
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 500ml double cream

Method

  1. For the ice cream, put the milk into a pan and bring just up to the boil. Take off the heat, stir in the shredded lemon verbena leaves, cover and set aside for 1 hour.
  2. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a heatproof bowl until pale and thick. Bring the milk back up to just boiling, then gradually strain the milk over the egg yolk mixture. Stir well, return to the pan and cook over a low heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon or spatula. Take care not to let it boil. Strain the custard into a bowl, cool slightly, then stir in the cream. Cover and chill overnight.
  3. The next day churn the mixture in an ice cream maker, then transfer to a container and put in the freezer. (Alternatively, pour the mixture into a shallow freezerproof container and freeze until almost firm. Scoop into a food processor and whizz until smooth. Return the mixture to the box, cover and freeze once more. Repeat 2-3 times until the mixture is very smooth, then freeze completely.) 
  4. For the peaches, put 600ml water, the sugar, vanilla pod and lemon zest into a pan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring. To skin the peaches, put them in a large heatproof bowl or deep pan, cover with freshly boiled water and leave for 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of iced water with a slotted spoon. When cold, the skins should peel away easily. Add the skinned peaches to the syrup. Cover and simmer, carefully turning them now and then, until just tender and they can be pierced easily through to the stone with a cocktail stick. This will take 10-15 minutes, depending on their ripeness.
  5. Lift the peaches with a slotted spoon into a serving bowl. Return the pan of syrup to the heat and boil rapidly until reduced by half. Add the lemon juice, then strain back over the peaches and serve warm or chill until needed. Serve with the ice cream and sprigs of lemon verbena.

delicious. tips

  1. You can use 1kg of apricots instead of peaches if you like. There’s no need to skin them and they’ll only take 4-5 minutes to poach in the syrup.

  2. Make the ice cream up to 1 month ahead and keep frozen in a sealed container.
    Prepare the poached peaches up to 48 hours in advance and either keep in a sealed container in the fridge or freeze for up to 1 month.

  3. Debbie says: “Lemon verbena is a lesser-known herb with pretty, bright green leaves and the most amazing lemony scent and flavour. The plants are available at good garden centres and make a great addition to a garden. If you don’t have lemon verbena, flavour the cream with 2 lightly crushed lemongrass stalks and the pared zest of 1 unwaxed lemon instead.”

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