I’ve had my ice cream machine sitting around in the basement since we got married. I’ve used it a couple of times, but most certainly not “on the regular”. After enjoying this ice cream last night, I’ve vowed to make homemade ice cream at least once a week – especially in these warmer months. With the new-fangeled machines they have now, it couldn’t be easier. I remember our vacations at Chincoteague (which, I’m now proud to call home), and the big wooden ice cream maker with the hand crank. It was just something about churning those common ingredients into a frosty delight, right before my very eyes, that was so magical. My four year old, Andrew, apparently feels the same.
So, the ice cream. The cherries are roasted with a little bit of sugar and bourbon, then soaked overnight in their own juices before churning into the ice cream the next day. The roasting process allows the cherries to remain soft even after freezing, not to mention intensifying their flavor. I was hesitant about the chocolate swirl, wanting to maintain simplicity for such a classic flavor – but, I couldn’t resist. Melting the chocolate, then pouring it into the machine during the last few moments of churning left beautiful, crackly ribbons all-throughout the ice cream. It really is pure heaven! Now that summer is officially here, I’m looking forward to giving my machine a workout. Stay tuned, more to come!
Chocolate Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream
30-40 fresh sweet cherries, whole and de-stemmed
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
1 cup milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean
6 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces semisweet (60%) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 450° F. Place whole, de-stemmed cherries in an oven safe roasting pan or dish (I used a glass pie pan). Sprinkle with sugar and bourbon. Toss to coat. Roast at 450° for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally and keeping a close eye to make sure the sugar doesn’t burn. Once fruit is soft, remove from oven and cool. Pit the cherries and slice into quarters. Refrigerate in juices overnight.
In a medium saucepan, heat milk, sugar, 1 cup of cream and salt over medium heat. Split vanilla bean in half, scrape seeds into the warm milk mixture and add used bean too. When milk is warm, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a large bowl. Set a fine mesh strainer on top and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks. Slowly add about 1/2 cup of the warm milk mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Pour the warmed egg mixture into the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan and whisk to combine. Return the saucepan to medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and pour through the mesh strainer into remaining cream. Add vanilla extract and stir over a bowl of ice water until cooled to room temperature. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
After ice cream mixture and cherries have cooled overnight, churn in your ice cream maker according to the instructions. While the ice cream is churning, heat chocolate in 15 second intervals at 50% power in the microwave, stirring between intervals, until melted smooth. With 5-7 minutes left to churn, start drizzling the chocolate very slowly into the ice cream mixture. Once all of the chocolate is incorporated, add cherries, juice and all. Transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for at least 4 hours.