Every time I visit my dad and stepmom, I end up eating a bowl of ice cream. Yesterday, after shooting several arrows with my dad, my stepmom gave me the choice of ice cream with peaches or ice cream with blackberries, and I chose peaches. About two minutes later, my stepmom handed me a bowl of vanilla ice cream with saucy little peach bits on top.
Rather than slide off the scoops, as slices or cubes are wont to do, the saucy little bits sat patiently atop the ice cream until I scooped them up with a spoon. “I like how you chop things up very small,” I said, assuming this was the result of aggressive knife work. (My stepmom is a mincer — most ingredients are finely shredded, chopped, or diced into very small pieces — and I have always appreciated this about her cooking.) “I actually used a potato masher,” she explained. “It helps get some of the juices out.”
Returning my gaze to my bowl of ice cream and peaches, this made sense. The topping was more of a raw compote, with the juices and bits swirling and intermingling with the vanilla ice cream, rather than falling to the bottom of the bowl. It was very simple, but made “ice cream and peaches” taste more like “fresh peach ice cream.”
Beyond making a clingier, tastier peach topping, muddling fruit with potato masher is also a brilliant way to disguise any cosmetic shortcomings. Mushy spots and slight discoloration are muddled into the background, allowing the fruit’s true hue to dominate (in this case, peach). If you have some berries or stone fruit that taste fine but don’t look that hot, just mash ‘em. Mash ‘em up good, then put the saucy, fruity mash on ice cream or cake. Repeat until you are out of fruit, or until summer is over.
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