Saturday, July 11, 2009

And I Don't Even Really Like Cherries

When my mom and I where given the task of providing desert for our 4th of July celebration down on the farm, we thought long and hard. I was set on making some sort of ice cream. Whether it made it to the farm or not, I didn't really care. So we settled on that American staple: chocolate chip cookies and for the ice cream we decided to use the cherries we already had on hand and ended up with Toasted Almond and Candied Cherry Ice cream from David Lebovitz's Perfect Scoop. And it. was. delicious.
It did take the better part of a day to complete this 3 part ice cream but with two people in the kitchen and some planning, we had a blast making it and it was TOTALLY worth the effort.
SO let's get started in the order we did it:

Start by washing some cherries to make the candied cherries

Next you have to pit the suckers and as my family only ever eats cherries straight from the bowl, we didn't have a pitter. The internet came to the rescue by suggesting hammering a nail into a board and pitting the cherries onto the nail.

And it worked like a charm- even if it did look a bit like a massacre...

Then throw the cherries into a pot with some sugar and water to boil on low heat for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, spread some almond on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven

Look at them cherries go!

Here we skip a couple steps in terms of pictures, but essentially you are going to heat up some milk and cream, then beat some eggs and mix the two together to make a CUSTARD! yum!

Can't forget to chop up the now toasted almonds.

Keep mixing the custard over low heat until it's thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.

Then you want to strain it into a bowl and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Once the mixture is cool, put it in your ice cream machine! As it churns add in the other half of your chopped almonds.

And finally, once you take the ice cream out of the machine, gently fold in the strained candied cherries.

Put the batch into your freezer to firm up then enjoy!

And this is the best I could do before the whole batch was gobbled up. Truly delicious.

Toasted Almond and Candied Cherry Ice Cream
From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Make about 1 1/2 quarts

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
5 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup well drained Candied Cherries (recipe below), coarsely chopped

Warm the milk, sugar, salt and 1 cup of the cream in a medium sauce-pan. Finely chop 1 cup of the almonds and add them to the warm milk. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Strain the almond-infused milk into a separate medium saucepan. Press with a spatula or squeeze with your hands to extract as much flavor from the almonds as possible. Discard the almonds.

Rewarm the almond-infused milk. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whsk together the egg yolks. Slowly warm mixture into the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Stir in the almond extract and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to directions. During the last few minutes of the churning, add the remaining 1 cup of chopped almonds. When you remove the ice cream from the machine, fold in the chopped cherries.

Candied Cherries
From the Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Makes about 2 Cups

1 pound cherries, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 drop almond extract

Remove the stems and pit the cherries. Heat the cherries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a large, nonreactive saucepan or skillet until the liquid starts to boil.

Turn down the heat to a low boil ad cook the cherries for 25 minutes, stirring frequently during the last 10 minutes of cooking t make sure they are cooking evenly and not sticking.

Once the syrup is reduced to the consistency of maple syrup, remove the pan from the the heat, add the almond extract, and let the cherries cool in their syrup.

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