Sometimes you just know. You see a recipe and you don’t even have to think about it or wonder how it will taste or worry about the technique because you know it will be great. You can already imagine the flavor, and it’s very, very good. That was what happened when I saw this dessert in July’s Food and Wine. Yes, ice cream made with mascarpone and served with peaches floating in a white wine-honey syrup scented with rosemary required no thinking. This was also a good choice for dessert because local peaches are still available, and rosemary is one of the few items in my yard that hasn’t succumbed to the searing, persistent heat this summer. The garlic chives are limply hanging on, the lemongrass is ok but requires a lot of water, and there are still a few green leaves on the sage. The basil isn’t entirely happy, but it’s surviving in containers which are watered daily. Everything else is long dead, but the rosemary doesn’t mind this weather at all, and I was happy to find another use for it.
The ice cream was made with a pretty standard custard including four egg yolks and whole milk. After the custard was cooked and poured into a bowl to cool, mascarpone was whisked into it, and then it was churned in an ice cream maker. For the syrup, white wine, honey, water, and sugar were combined in a saucepan and boiled until reduced by half. Rosemary was added and allowed to steep, and I veered from the recipe at this point. Rather than pouring the syrup over peaches and baking them, I simply sliced the peaches and let them sit in the warm syrup while it steeped with the rosemary. I wanted to keep the peaches a little firmer and closer to their fresh state. They were so fragrant and juicy, I didn’t feel the need to bake them to intensify the flavor.
A big scoop of the ice cream was topped with peach slices and a few spoons of syrup. The interesting thing about the ice cream is that there is no vanilla. The flavor comes entirely from the mascarpone. It was a nice change from the familiar taste of vanilla, and it was as good as expected with the peaches and syrup.