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This dreamy Cherry Ice Cream is smooth and luscious with the delicate flavor of fresh cherries.
I’ve been tweaking this Cherry Ice Cream recipe for a few weeks while I’ve been visiting my parents. My mom’s all-time favorite ice cream is cherry, so I set off to develop the perfect recipe with her as my taste tester. We tested gobs of Cherry Ice Cream. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! 😊 Thanks, Mom!
For this Dreamy Cherry Ice Cream, I started off using the maximum amount of cherries (about 5 pounds) for intense cherry flavor and using only milk so that no other ingredient (like cream or eggs) would dull the taste. It had great cherry flavor, but I wasn’t crazy about the texture. I have an amazing recipe for cherry sorbet which is so delicious and so intensely cherry that if my aim was only the cherry flavor, I’d rather turn to that. An ice cream though, definitely has to be creamy and smooth and the best way to achieve that is with a custard that contains egg yolks and cream.
Egg yolks and sugar are whisked until pale yellow. Hot milk is slowly poured into the egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly so that the eggs don’t cook.
The mixture is returned to the stove and heated until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon.
The mixture is strained through a fine mesh strainer so that it is perfectly smooth.
I also experimented with the method of preparing the cherries. I tried roasting them first, knowing that roasting cherries intensifies their flavor. There are two drawbacks to this method. First, I really don’t want to have to heat up my oven during the hot summer. I’m looking for relief from the heat, not trying to add to it. Second, this method is a little trickier, if you don’t keep an eye on the cherries they can bubble up and burn (did that).
Next, I tried just cooking the cherries on top of the stove. I pitted the cherries and chopped them, then sprinkled them with sugar and let them sit to macerate for 30-45 minutes. After the juices were drawn out, I cooked them over medium-low heat for 30 minutes to soften the cherries and make a lovely cherry syrup. The cherries are strained well to separate the syrup. The syrup is added to the ice cream base before churning and the cherries are added at the very end.
If you don’t have a cherry pitter (or are traveling to your parent’s place and forgot to bring yours) and you hate pitting cherries (because you’ve been on a cherry binge all summer and have pitted more pounds of cherries that you can count), here’s a tip: cooked cherries are much easier to pit than raw ones. For this recipe, since you want the cherries to macerate in sugar to release their juices, cut the cherries in half, leaving the pit in, and proceed with the recipe. After the cherries are cooked and strained, spread them out on a plate or cutting board and working from side to side of the plate, quickly go through and pinch out the cherry pits with your fingers. Give the cherries a little chopping to make sure there aren’t any big pieces.
A high proportion of cherries to custard made the ice cream more crystalized and less smooth. I made batch after batch, each time decreasing the amount of cherries, until I found the perfect balance between cherry flavor and smooth creaminess. The result is a silky smooth and deliciously rich cherry ice cream with chunks of cherries and a lovely, delicate cherry flavor.
Roasted Cherry Basil Sorbet