A Frosty Resolution

I have been thinking a lot about cherries lately.  I’m not entirely sure why.  Ok, I have absolutely no clue why.  It’s December and I haven’t seen a live cherry for months.  But still, there it is; cherries have been on my mind.  The Law of Attraction then, was clearly at play while I was rummaging in my freezer the other day and came across some fantastically dark red stuff in freezer bags.  Pretty sure they were cherries.  Hoping they were Cherry Sauce for the Cherry-Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream.  Labelling things before they go to lurk in the depths of your freezer is such a great idea.  Somewhat sadly, I only ever remember how great an idea that is when I am trying to determine what something I have found lurking in there is, several months after I have deposited it into the frosty abyss.  Maybe “labelling for the freezer” could be a different item for my New Years Resolutions in 2011.  I like making resolutions.  They give me hope.  And remind me that things can be different than they are.  I like that.

Turns out, after the bag of fantastically dark red stuff had warmed up & returned to it’s unfrozen state…it was not my hoped for Cherry Sauce after all.  One deep whiff of the aroma as I pulled open the bag reminded me of exactly what it was: Cherry Sorbet, all ready to churn.  I had made it in large batches back in the summer when it was raining cherries in the Pacific Northwest & they were very few bucks for an awful lot of yum.  Except I didn’t actually want to eat it all back in the summer, so I made it up and froze it in large bags with the idea of magically conjuring up fresh Cherry Sorbet in the middle of winter to the wonderment and giddly cheers of friends & their adorable children.  And now I had an unscheduled bag of liquid Cherry Sorbet sat in my fridge when what I really needed was Cherry Sauce.  Further rummaging elicited the last (thank heaven for small mercies) bag of Cherry Sauce so that I could, in fact, come up with the goods on the promised Cherry-Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream.  But that’s a whole other post.

I also needed to rustle up a couple of Holiday Rocky Road Chocolate Tarts today.  One was entirely overdue to my lovely new friend Deanna, and always being one to maximise time vs. output, I almost always make more than I need and hope to make someone smile with the extra(s).

While I was melting butter & smashing biscuits for my Rocky Road ensembles I was musing on what to do with this bag of Cherry Sorbet, since I just didn’t feel in a sorbet kind of a mood.  In mid-December it’s just altogether too cold for sorbet don’t you think?  In the upper Northwest corner of America anyway.  Somehow sorbet just seems so much colder than ice cream.  Then suddenly I decided that Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream sounded quite delightful.  I don’t know where that came from.  I have never had Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream.  Never even seen it in the stores.  Nevertheless, there it was winging it’s way around my conscious:  Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream.  Sometimes things just all spontaneously come together.  I totally made this recipe up.  It totally makes me think of summer.  Yum. 

Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream (cb) 

  • 2 lbs fresh dark red cherries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsps Kirsch (or other cherry liqueur)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pit the cherries. If you do this without wearing an apron you may live to regret it.  Cherry juice has staining power like just about nothing else.  Place the cherries in a saucepan with the water, 1 cup sugar and the lemon juice over medium heat.   Simmer for  15 minutes or until the cherries are softened.  Remove from the heat & leave to cool.  While you are waiting for the cherries to cool you can make the ice cream custard.

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan until it just starts to steam.  Meanwhile, set a strainer (sieve) on a large bowl and pour the heavy cream into the bowl.

In a small separate bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks.  Pour 1/2 cup of the steaming milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Repeat with another 1/2 cup of steaming milk.  And repeat one more time.

Then pour the egg / milk mixture back in to the saucepan & stir constantly while cooking over a low heat.  As you stir, scrape the bottom of the saucepan with a heat-resistant spatula.  When the custard has thickened enough to coat the spatula remove the saucepan from the heat.  DO NOT LET THE CUSTARD BOIL OR EVEN LOOK LIKE ITS GOING TO.  Yes I am yelling.

Strain the hot custard into the heavy cream through the strainer.  Stand the bowl of custard to one side to cool.  Meanwhile, back with the cherries…

When the cherries & syrup have reached room temperature (or thereabouts) add the Kirsch. Place the cherries & syrup in a blender or food processor & blend like mad until it is a super smooth puree.  With the strainer still over the custard bowl, strain the cherry puree into the custard using another spatula to push the puree through.  You will be left with a small amount of puree that will not pass through the strainer.  Discard.

Cover and chill the cherry custard thoroughly in the ’fridge (overnight is good), then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Eat.  Love.  Share.

PS.  If you, like me, have a glut of cherries in the summer you can totally make the cherry puree & freeze it, then defrost & make into this ice cream some other time.

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