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Lucy Mercer

Lucy Mercer
Location
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Birthday
December 31
Bio
I cook, I write, I carpool. You may also find my words at A Cook and Her Books. Email acookandherbooks@gmail.com. Thanks for visiting!

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JULY 11, 2010 8:12PM

Baked Aleutian Cupcakes Bering Strait to the Table

Rate: 13 Flag
  peaches
 
"HMFPIC - You Know Where"

If you hold Macon, Georgia, near to your heart then you recognize  the acronym HMFPIC from the classified ad placed in the Macon Telegraph & News each June 1st. The ad didn't announce a clandestine meeting, but an ice cream event - Homemade Fresh Peach Ice Cream at Len Berg’s restaurant on Post Office Alley next to the Federal Courthouse.

Macon is close to Fort Valley in nearby Peach County, home of the Blue Bird Bus Company and the sweet Georgia peaches at Lane Southern Orchards. When the first peaches were picked  and brought to Len Berg’s, they were churned into a creamy vanilla custard ice cream.  To get the word out, each June 1, Maconites could look  in the back pages of the Telegraph, not in a display ad, but the classifieds, for the cryptic message: “HMFPIC - You Know Where.”

Len Berg's was an original - in business from 1908 until it closed just a few years ago. The building was small, with unusually low ceilings, but the location, especially to feed the lunch crowd, was great - in the downtown business district close to both the Federal and the County courthouses. The menu was classic meat-and-two-or-three, with excellent Southern vegetables. I managed to get to Len Berg’s a few years before it closed. I had some tasty fried chicken and a pimento cheese sandwich - this is kind of a Macon thing, like chicken and waffles everywhere else. And we concluded with HMFPIC. 
 
peach ice cream
 
I make my own HMFPIC and the key is to use dead ripe peaches, the soft fragrant fruit that is just hours from being compost. Here’s my version of peach ice cream, using these gorgeous California peaches - I know, I should be ashamed, but the market had California peaches, not Georgia ones. They are pretty, though, aren’t they?
 
Georgia Peach Ice Cream
 
I have a tried and true custard recipe for vanilla ice cream, but this recipe, adapted from "Beans, Greens and Sweet Georgia Peaches" by Savannah food writer Damon Lee Fowler, is divine in its simplicity. This is truly peaches and cream, frozen with sugar and salt and vanilla, simply delicious and easy.
 
4 large, ripe peaches
 
juice of one-half lemon
 
1 cup sugar, divided
 
1 quart heavy cream
 
salt
 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 
1. Peel the peaches, halve and rough chop. Place them in a food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture is a coarse puree. Place the peaches in a bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar. Let sit at room temperature for one half hour.
 
2. In another bowl, dissolve remaining 3/4 cup sugar in the cream. Add a pinch of salt and pour the cream over the peaches, stirring to combine. Let this mixture sit in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours and up to a day before freezing it in an ice cream maker. Follow manufacturer's instructions for freezing the ice cream.

 I use a Krups ice cream maker, the kind with the canister that goes in the freezer. I’ve had many kinds of ice cream freezers through the years, beginning with the hand-crank kind that required ritual layering of ice and rock salt. I found this cute ice cream maker  at an estate sale for $4. I’m hoping the American Pickers will stop at my house and offer $10, then I’ll know I did well. Hey, Paul Hinrichs, betcha don’t have one of these!
 
  ice cream maker
 
You can finish reading the story here, but if you’re the kind of person, like me, who enjoys a culinary challenge, then get ready to make the coolest cupcakes you’ve ever seen - Baked Alaska cupcakes, or as I’ve come to call them, Baked Aleutians.
 
Baked Aleutians
 
This is my year of Baked Alaska. I turned one out in February for the SKC Frozen Treats category, in honor of the Jamaican bobsled team of the Calgary Olympics. It was a Roasted Banana Coconut Ice Cream with Blue Mountain Coffee Ganache in Pound Cake smothered in a marshmallowy Italian Meringue. It was exquisite and yummy and a glorious pain in the patootie to make -  cake, ice cream, ganache, meringue. Take a picture and eat.

Upon seeing that the category for this week was ice cream and that frozen desserts such as Baked Alaska were welcome, I emailed Francis Lam informing him that I had made my Baked Alaska for 2010, but (I’m not sure where this even came from) I might make a Baked Alaska cupcake.  Just off the top of my head, I wrote that it would have to be called Baked Aleutians. Francis’ reply - if I made Baked Aleutians, that would be genius. That my friends is a gauntlet, the glove on the ground that I can’t ignore. It was time to don my apron and attack the kitchen.
 
oven mitt
 
Baked Aleutians with Fresh Peach Ice Cream
 
Baked Alaska and Baked Aleutians require three elements: cake, ice cream and meringue. The cake and ice cream are baker's choice; the meringue is fairly straightforward. Here's how to put it together:
 
1. For one dozen cupcakes, you will need pound cake baked in muffin tins with paper liners. After they are baked, scoop out a small portion of the filling so the ice cream has a cup to hold it.

2. Scoop of ice cream. I used Fresh Peach Ice Cream for a dreamy taste of Georgia summer.


cupcakes with meringue
 
 
3. A generous swirl of  meringue. This is a glorious thing to have in one’s repertoire. Shirley Corriher’s Italian meringue  from "Bakewise" is tried and true and will launch this dessert into the stratosphere.
 
4. You can be fancy and pipe the meringue, but I used a spoon and swirled it onto the ice cream. If you're the kind to use a pastry bag, you probably have a brulee torch on hand, too, and that does a beautiful job. The assembled cupcakes toasted in an oven set on 375° for 10 minutes.
 
I served the Baked Aleutians in a sea of caramel sauce.
 
caramel sauce aleutian

 
Text and images copyright 2010, Lucy Mercer.


With special thanks to Abrawang, who left the Aleutians joke as a comment on my previous Baked Alaska story.

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Comments

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We still have peach orchards around here.....maybe it's time for some midnight delight. I hope they don't shoot me!
Just kidding about stealing but you would think they were made of gold for what they charge anymore. Sounds well worth it! Yummy
Bering Strait to my belly! Yum yum yum! No shame at all in using California peaches -- the GA ones will be ripe enough soon, and you'll have more than you can handle.
Excellent, Lucy, you are the Baked Alaska expert! I was wondering what took you so long, I'm certainly delighted with what you came up. What I love the most is that, although it looks so difficult and impressive, this is also a matter of composition with the minimal effort and bringing forth a stunning result. Lovely. I'm curious to see if Paul Hinrichs has one of those Acme contraptions, too.
~R~
Beautiful... an fantasy archipelago of homemade happiness.
Gorgeous, Lucy! I knew you were deciding between something Georgia peach (which I'm always wanting for you to do) and Baked Alaska, and you found a way to do both! And I like the sea of caramel, too.
Thanks to Comcast's new digital box requirements, I actually knew what you were talking about when you mentioned the American Pickers. I'm now watching the History channel regularly. I love peaches, but will have to stick to peach smoothies, though, can't tolerate ice cream.
Lunchlady: fresh peaches are worth their weight in gold, but I don't recommend hopping over a fence to get to the orchard!

Bellwether: I hope this sounds like an ice cream treat you would like.

Fusun: not difficult at all, just time-consuming, and if I can do it with a preschooler underfoot and a tween talking constantly, then anyone can!

Zul: an archipelago of homemade happiness! I love it - that's the best compliment I've ever had!

Linda: it's not the story I started out to write, but I think it turned out pretty well. I've always liked the Len Berg's anecdote.

Nianya: So glad to see you here! I'll try to do some gluten-free/vegan food sometime soon.

Thanks, everyone, for reading and commenting. You make this kind of writing so much fun!
Peaches and ice cream? Seriously, it's all I can do to keep from running out and buying and ice cream maker NOW.

How are California peaches compared to Georgia ones? I keep thinking of Kramer on that Seinfeld episode about Mackinaw peaches...
Hi Lucy. When I caught the title of your post, boy, did the memory chimes ever start ringing. To give credit where it's due, the comment came from a special friend. I had prepared an elaborate dinner (Tournedos Rossini) and capped it off with two small Baked Alaskas. When I retrieved them from the oven, I joked that the dessert was Baked Alaska, or given their size, Baked Aleutian Islands. To which my love immediately replied "Which you'll be Bering Stait to the table." I really should have married her.

Anyway, you've inspired me to try your recipe this summer. In August, my ex-love and four of our closest friends from that time (late 70s-early 80s) will be reuniting for a week at my family cottage. Everyone takes a turn at whipping up something fancy so I'll set myself to the challenge. Thanks for the detailed instructions.
Oh, I don't even know where to begin. Love your title, and your Baked Aleutians are fantastic! Peach ice cream is my father's specialty...from the time we were teeny-tinys, every summer we'd get out the ice cream maker. My dad would make the custard while my mom chopped the peaches. We'd put it into the ice-cream freezer and surrounded by ice and salt and wait impatiently, peeking constantly, until it was time to serve it up and fight over the dasher. (I'm beginning to think that this should have been what I wrote my entry about...oops.) I will continue to wax poetic while drooling over your fabulous pictures. A+ entry!!
YUMMMMM!!!!! I love your Baked Aleutians on sight, Lucy! =o) And they're adorable, too.

Fresh peach ice cream.... this is the reason it is NOT possible for me to buy an ice cream maker unless I want to weigh 400 pounds.

I don't. =o) But ice cream is my absolute, all time favorite form of dessert.
rated.
Love the backstory to the ice cream, love the ice cream (peaches--my favorite fruit!), impressed by the Aleutians, and appreciative of the wit throughout--from the "just hours from being compost" to the gauntlet to the naming of your clever desert. Exceptional post!
You're right, Lucy - I don't have one of those. I'd be careful using it though - isn't "Acme" the company that makes all the stuff that blows up in Wile E. Coyote's face?
These look delectable, Lucy! You and I are on a Baked Alaska mind meld, it would seem. In the unedited version of my Baked Florida post, I waxed sublime on the most essential reason to own an ice cream maker: fresh homemade peach. You are a woman after my tummy!
Abrawang: thank you for the culinary inspiration and a brilliant title. I hope you write about your family get-together!

Grace: Oh, you absolutely must have an ice cream maker! I use mine a lot, mostly for sorbet, though. I'm prejudiced in the CA versus GA debate - South Carolina peaches are the best, hands-down.

Lisa: ice cream used to be such a special occasion treat - with the hand crank or electric kind, ice and salt. I kind of miss the production aspect of all that. You'll have to write your peach ice cream story - maybe we'll get a peach challenge soon!

Shiral: the internet version of ice cream is fat- and calorie-free!

Pilgrim: thank you for noticing my favorite parts of the story!

Paul: You're right - ACME! The fact that the canister is rusted shut has kept me from using it, now I'll tell my kids that it will explode if we use it.

Drewonimo: You know what they say - great minds! I'd like to see the fresh peach ice cream part of your story - storebought peach ice cream, if you can find it, doesn't taste like real peaches.

Thanks, everyone, for reading and commenting!
Oh, Bless you for this! I have two sister in laws in Macon and I lived for a glorious couple of years three hours away in the magical city by the coast. I miss it so. A taste of "home"! I can't wait to try this and give it to my children and husband.
Lawyagurl: Thanks for reading! I can make you hungry for Macon - Nu-Way hot dogs, Fincher's Barbecue, anything from the S&S. Glad to make the Georgia connection!
mmmmm Lucy, this looks divine and with easy enough instructions for me to follow. Beautiful images too...
Speaking of peach ice cream, I want to invite you close to my home to try a few things at Peach Park. (we think we're a pretty good rival to our sweet neighbors in Jaw-juh;)
Super Extra Awesomely Magnificent! I love HMFPIC and will cave to B&J's Willie Nelson Peach Cobbler IC as well! The baked alaska cupcake is just pure freakin' genius though. Bravo, Miss Lucy Mercer. A+++++++
Amanda: I've heard of the famous Chilton County peaches and would love to visit Peach Park - life is too short, eat more peaches!

1_Irritated_Mother: Oh, do go on...Thank you so much, that's quite a compliment from someone I consider to be a supremely talented cook, photographer and writer.

Thanks, Amanda and Ann, for reading and commenting!
I can smell and taste this made with white peaches and a little drizzle of Peach Schnapps...