Have you ever made a recipe that was delicious – but perhaps a bit too much? I don’t’ mean in amount, I mean in richness or heft? I had this happen with an ice cream recipe from New York Times Cooking. I was looking for a good base recipe for trying out the ice cream maker that my mother got me for my birthday last year. “The Only Ice Cream Recipe You’ll Ever Need” – that sounded like a good place to start. Half a dozen egg yolks and two cups of heavy whipping cream later and they were right… It was wonderful – creamy and dreamy and had a great mouth-feel.. but more than a couple of spoonful’s and I was done. All those eggs made it SO rich that I couldn’t have more than a scoop – and the eggy custardy goodness overpowered the strawberry that I had added. There are worse problems, I know. But what if you wanted a cool treat at the end of a hot day or a big meal? What if you wanted the fruits and flavorings to be the star? This would NOT satisfy.
Back to the source I went. The alternative was the Philadelphia-style ice cream base – no eggs. But this used corn syrup to help prevent ice crystals and I don’t’ keep that stuff around. So I sent back to the original again. Deep down in the notes was a glimmer of hope – that you could reduce the number of egg yolks. Off I went with a pound of cherries and bar of good, dark chocolate to recreate one of my favorite ice cream flavors.
I started with fresh cherries – but because you end up cooking them there really isn’t a need. You can start with frozen and it will be just as good, but be sure to thaw them first and drain off the juice. Check to see if your frozen cherries are sweetened – if they are, you might want to dial back on the sugar by a couple of tablespoons. A good way to see if they are heavily sweetened is to check the juice when they thaw. If it is more like syrup than water, that is a clue that there is a lot of sugar there. I also started with my chocolate in bar form because I have more options at the store that way. But a cup of good chocolate chips will do just fine.
Half-Custard Chocolate-Cherry Ice CreamCourse: DessertDifficulty: Medium
Prep time does not include chilling time – at least 4 hours.
1 Lb Sweet Cherries; Pitted and Roughly Chopped (450g / 16oz)
2/3 C Sugar; Divided (134g / 4.5oz)
1 Tbl Vanilla Extract (15ml)
1/2 tsp Almond Extract (2.5ml)
2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
1 C Whole Milk
1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
4 Lg Egg Yolks (use 3 if your eggs are extra-large or jumbo)
6 oz Dark Chocolate; Roughly Chopped
- In a Medium Saucepan, combine the Cherries with 1/3 C (67g / 2.5oz) of Sugar over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring often until the cherries begin to release their juice and the sugar has dissolved – about 5 minutes.
- Increase the heat to medium and cook at a heavy simmer until the fruit is softened and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes more.
- Remove from the heat. Stir in the Vanilla and Almond Extracts. Set aside to cool.
- In a second Saucepan, combine the remaining Sugar with the Heavy Cream and Milk. Warm over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture is hot to the touch, but not boiling. You shouldn’t be able to leave your finger submerged comfortably for more than a moment*.
- Meanwhile, in a Medium Mixing Bowl, whisk the Egg Yolks together.
- When the Milk mixture is hot, remove from the heat and gently ladle a small amount of the hot milk into the egg yolks, whisking the yolks the entire time. I brace the ladle against the inside of the bowl and let the milk run down the side, it helps with control. Repeat with a second ladle of hot milk.
- Transfer the Yolk-Milk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk. Return to the stove over medium heat. Whisking the entire time, heat the mixture until thickened. About 170 on an instant read thermometer, or thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and whisk in Cherry Mixture and Salt. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Transfer to a 1 quart food container or mason jar and chill, at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Remember to freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker!
- When chilled, transfer to the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker and churn per the manufacturer’s instructions. Mine take about 20 minutes.
- Once the ice cream has reached the desired consistency (think soft serve), add the chocolate and let the machine run another 30 seconds to distribute the chunks.
- Serve immediately for soft-serve or transfer to a clean food storage container and freeze until ready to eat.
2 Medium Sauce Pans
Instant Read Thermometer (optional)
1 Pint Container (like a mason jar) with a lid
Ice Cream Machine
- *The exact temperature of the cream in this first step isn’t critical. However it is critical not to OVERHEAT the cream, so error on the too cool side rather than the too hot side.