While the image of eating ice cold watermelon is often identified with hot summer days, I find what I long for in the summer are stone fruit such as nectarines, plums, and peaches. Stone fruit get their names from the pit, or “stone” in the center, and have thin skins that are fuzzy or smooth. What makes stone fruit special compare to other fruit is that they don’t often ripen once harvested. So they must be picked at their peak, allowing for a short window of time in which to enjoy them, which is why they are so perfect frozen into my Peach Ice Cream Squares.
The most common of the stone fruit is the peach. Peaches come in both orange and white flesh varieties, and round or doughnut shaped. My family of 5 cannot get enough of them during the peak season, which on the west coast falls around mid-July. While on our yearly vacation in Santa Barbara, we usually buy a flat of 24 peaches each week, and spend 50 weeks out of the remaining year looking forward to the time when we can take full advantage of the bounty of the Central Coast of California.
Growing up in Texas, we also had wonderful peaches from the Texas Hill Country. Recipes such as Peach Cobbler and Peach Crisp are synonymous with my childhood, and have been key recipes in my kitchen to serve to Hubby and our three kids. This summer, I thought I would develop a recipe that any one of our kids could make and enjoy, and one that has the added benefit of cooling one down when temps get over 90 and 100. I hope you enjoy the following recipe for Peach Ice Cream Squares, and don’t forget that you can use it year-round by substituting other favorite fruit such as cherries, strawberries, blueberries…you name it. The crust is gluten free and I used dairy free ice cream, but you can pick and choose according to your taste and diet. My wish is for you to find some joy in the discovery of what works for you and your family! xoM
NOTE: For this recipe I used an 8-inch square baking pan like this one found on Amazon that is freezer proof. I also used wax paper to help remove the squares from the pan. You can use wax paper as this is a no-bake recipe, but know that wax paper will melt or ignite if placed in the oven. Parchment paper is both oven and freezer proof.
Peachy Ice Cream Squares
For the Base
- 1 1/2 cups almond meal, or you can also use 2 cups of raw almonds that have been soaked for 6-10 hours, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 3/4 cup pitted Medjool dates (about 10-12)
- 3-4 tbsp coconut oil
For the Filling
- 4-5 medium peaches
- 2 pints dairy free ice cream (I use So Delicious Vanilla)
For the Base
- In a food processor or a blender, combine the almond meal, cacao powder, dates and coconut oil, and blend until combined. Place crust mixture into a 8-inch square baking pan that has been lined with parchment or wax paper. I usually line my baking pan with parchment paper leaving several inches of overhang to make removal easier. Freeze for at least 1 hour.
For the Filling
- While waiting for the base (crust) to freeze, take two pints of ice cream out of the freezer to defrost.
- With a pairing knife, mark an X on the bottom of the peaches. Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place them in an ice bath (a bowl with ice water). Gently peel each peach and slice them into wedges. Set the wedges aside in a bowl.
- When ice cream has softened, spoon into a large mixing bowl. Blend in the peach slices and then spoon mixture into 8-inch pan atop the crust, spreading evenly. Freeze for at least two hours.
- When ready to serve, remove the Peach Ice Cream mixture from the pan and cut into squares.
Looking for more summer-friendly bakes? Try out my No Bake Matcha Mango Cake made with vegan cashew cream.
All photos by Marci Symington for TEXAZTASTE.com.