The South is ripe with two things this time of year: fresh peaches and hot days. What better way to cool down than with a scoop of ice cream? In honor of National Peach Ice Cream Day, we gave editorial assistant Hannah Klinger the task of making one from scratch. The results: delicious!

How does a lactose intolerant person celebrate National Peach Ice Cream Day? With coconut milk, of course.

I’m normally the first to put aside my dietary issues in favor of something cold and creamy, but after making this Mango Coconut Sherbet a few weeks ago, I’m convinced that the same richness can be achieved without dairy.

Coconut milk has plenty of body and a much subtler coconut flavor than you might think. Knowing that, I decided to pair it with an abundant Alabama staple: peaches! Blended with a little sugar, lemon juice and zest, it tasted like summer—no artificial extracts or juices needed.

Some guidelines for making ice cream at home:

1. Make sure your base is thick enough. An ice cream base should be able to coat the back of a spoon, at the least, but can also be quite thick before freezing. My favorites are part-skim ricotta blended with an infused simple syrup or low fat yogurt mixed with fun toppings.   

2. Read manufacturer’s instructions. A batch can go awry if the freezer can is overfilled or doesn’t churn long enough.

3. Keep it cold. Besides freezing the freezer can, I like to chill my base overnight in the fridge just to make sure it’s as cold as can be.

4. Move to a plastic container for the final freeze. Ice cream left in the can will be harder to scoop, and will refreeze poorly. Plus, you’ll need it to make more!

Peach Sherbet
Yield: 2 quarts
4 cups chopped fresh peaches
1 (15-ounce) can light coconut milk (or 11/2 boxes)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
11/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Blend ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Chill base overnight. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.