Friday, June 15, 2012

Bellini Ice Cream Floats

Do you remember when you were a kid and it was summer and you'd played all day outside, exhausted, filthy, blissfully free and happy and starving hungry?
And sometimes after a dinner of burgers or hot dogs you'd get the ultimate dessert.
A Coke float.
Maybe you preferred Big Red or Dr Pepper.

Am I giving away my East Texas roots too much here?

{bellini ice cream goodness}

If you don't remember or think I may have lost the plot completely, then let me remind and explain.

A Coke float is a tall soda or milkshake glass filled with a couple of scoops of your favorite vanilla ice cream and topped with Coca-Cola. Or Dr Pepper. Or Big Red. Or Orange Crush. Endless possibilities really but it's always called simply a 'coke float'.
The way we Texans just say 'coke' for every fizzy soda drink.

When you pour the Coca-Cola over the vanilla ice cream it fizzes and bubbles, frothing into foam that kind of crusts up from the carbonation.You put your straw in and slurp and are instantly rewarded with sweet, creamy goodness--the ultimate summer treat.

I think it's one better than your garden variety milkshake because of the bubbly top that you can eat with a spoon. I save it until the end but some can't wait and scoop up the crusty foam before taking even one sip.

Now to the grown-up part. I started thinking about making some homemade peach ice cream. I love peach ice cream and the peaches are all so nice and juicy right now.

And then, the wheels kept turning and I thought, what if I made a kind of peach ice cream float with Prosecco poured over? Would it bubble and fizz the way my coke floats used to? Peaches and Prosecco, that's what makes a bellini!

I love a bellini, the sweet, peachy Italian cocktail served fizzing with Prosecco. I'm sure you do too. So I gave it a try. For you.

I made peach ice cream roughly following one of Nigella's basic egg custard ice cream recipes. When it was ready I scooped out two rounded spoons, put them in a glass, popped a bottle of cold Prosecco and poured it over.

And guess what? It's delicious. A refreshing, grown-up float. The bellini, only pumped up to a creamy, heavenly dessert. A very adult version of a childhood favorite.

Here's the recipe if you'd like to see for yourself.
You could always skip the ice cream making step but homemade ice cream is just so fun and relatively easy to do. There's something about the moment the custard begins to thicken up and coat the back of the spoon that makes me feel like a magician. That's always a fun feeling.

Bellini Ice Cream Floats

10 ripe peaches, peeled, stoned and cut into chunks
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup of whipping or double cream

1 bottle Prosecco Italian sparkling wine

To make the ice cream:
(recipe adapted from Nigella's Forever Summer cookbook)

Pour the whole milk into a saucepan and warm over medium heat. Just to warming, not bubbling or steaming in any way.
Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla.
When the milk is warm, very slowly pour it over the whisked egg yolk mixture, whisking as you go. If you do it too quickly the eggs will scramble and no one wants that.

Wash out your milk saucepan and pour the whisked mixture back into it.

Here's the part that can get tricky. It's also the part that will make you feel magical.
Fill a bowl full of cold water and keep it nearby, I usually keep mine in the sink because it's handy. This is just in case the eggs start to get too warm and begin to curdle before they thicken. It's ok if they start, just quickly plunge the hot saucepan into the cold water and stir, stir, stir.
Ok, don't worry. Really.

Now that your egg and milk mixture are back in the saucepan on a moderately high heat you just start stirring. Nice and easy with a wooden spoon. Stirring all the time. It should only take about 10 minutes for it to thicken into a custard. Or what we call a pudding consistency. It will coat the back of the spoon and smell heavenly and you will feel like you've accomplished something so cool. Trust me.

If little bits start to form in the mixture as you're heating and stirring that means you need to stick the saucepan in the bowl of cold water, stirring, stirring, stirring to keep it from curdling. You can easily stop it if you do this. It happened to me yesterday and everything turned out fine.

When your custard is finished, take a little bow, tell everyone around to come have a look and a sniff and then leave it to cool completely.

While you're waiting, peel and stone your peaches and blitz them into a chunky puree. I personally like to have a few bits of peach in my ice cream but smooth it as much as you like.

When the custard has cooled completely, add it to the peach puree and whip the 1/2 cup of cream until thickened. Fold it into the peachy custard and then freeze in an electric ice cream maker.  This will give you around 1 liter of ice cream.

When the ice cream is frozen and you're ready for your bellini float, simply scoop out two balls each into pretty glasses, pop some very cold Prosecco and pour it over until nearly full.
You want to use a relatively small glass here considering it's booze and not coke you're adding.
But I will leave this entirely up to you.

Serve with straws and a long spoon.


  1. How refreshing! I love making classic drinks a little naughty by adding some booze in it! I'll have to give this a try, although I'll probably be lazy and just throw some peach sorbet in a class of cremant. I know, what a killjoy!

    Thanks for this post!

  2. You're forgiven. If you're ever down this way I'll make homemade ice cream for you.
    aidan x

  3. It was rootbeer floats for us neighbours in the North. A boozey bellini sounds delicious!

    1. I won't hold that against you K! We like root beet in Texas too.
      cheers on the bellinis!
      aidan xo

  4. Mon Dieu. Your Texan roots are definitely showing, Aidan, and I am not talking about the ones on the top of your head :-) Who would have thought so much creativity and work went into making these? Maybe I should give them a try this summer on one of the TWO days of extreme heat Seattle will likely experience? For now, am about to board my flight to France, so I am thinking I will stick to Kir Royal over the next few weeks :-) The Travelogue has just started. Come and visit when you can! A bientot, Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

    1. Oh, Veronique! You made me laugh. I think you'll have arrived back on French soil by now. I'm sure it feels good to be here. I hope you have the most wonderful time. I am going to be following you along the way, the travelogue is a great idea.
      Chin, chin to your Kir!
      aidan xo

  5. Mmmm! It reminds me of the Root Beer floats I had a kid. I loved those. I like the idea of vanilla ice cream with Dr. Pepper (since that is my most favorite drink ever). I have to try that out. Our little local Casino actually carries Dr. Pepper so I will be able to serve that right up!

    1. Yep, root beer makes a good float too. Thanks to you and Ms Little Sweet Spots for reminding me. I think I can find root beer at the Mondial Market here. I know they have Dr Pepper but imagine how good it would be with Orangina! Kind of like a Dreamsicle.
      Bon Weekend,
      aidan xo

  6. The recipe for your ice cream sounds delicious and with the prosecco sounds really good! I am going to pass this on the chefs at our Bistro Des Copains. One thing I like to do is take rich vanilla ice cream and pour a single shot of espresso over it. Very simple but very tasty too.


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