Today’s temperatures are supposed to reach over 100°F here in the Old Pueblo; we need a way to keep our cool, and what better way to keep cool than with a bowl of ice cream? Made from scratch, of course. The only question is, “what flavor?” With all the stores offering the first cherries of the season, we answered that question in a flash. Now all we have to do is figure out how to make Fresh Cherry Ice Cream.
We decided to go simple: make a batch of Triple Vanilla Ice Cream and stir a freshly-made cherry sauce into it right after churning. A cherry sauce made from fresh cherries is pretty easy, and, even if you don’t make your own ice cream, we think this sauce will be right at home on a scoop (or two, we’re not saying anything) of commercial ice cream.
We chose vanilla ice cream so the flavors of fresh cherries would stand out. We thought about our Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate Ice Cream, but figured that the flavor of fresh cherries would be overwhelmed by chocolate. We also thought about making Cinnamon Stick Ice Cream, and we still think that would be good, but we went traditional.
We added a bit of cinnamon to the cherries to help bring out the cherry flavor. We could have used almond extract to the same effect, but we thought the cinnamon would add just a slightly more exotic taste. As an aside, the small amount of water is there just to help get the cherries cooking.
Procedure in detail:
Cook cherries. While we aren’t sure this recipe really requires details, we’ll put them in, anyway. Place the cherries, water, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, and, within a few minutes, the sugar will dissolve and the cherries will start to release juices. Continue cooking until it looks as if the cherries are swimming in a lovely red syrup. Remove from heat.
Add vanilla. Stir in the vanilla, let the cherries stand for a minute or two to cool, then give the syrup a taste. What’s it taste like? Butter, oddly enough. The sauce has a slight buttery taste. Really. We’ve found that sometimes when you combine two, or more, flavors, you get a third completely unexpected flavor that shows up.
Chill. Place the cherries in a small heatproof container and refrigerate until completely chilled, preferably overnight. This will allow for the flavors to meld and soften, and, more importantly, will prevent your freshly-churned ice cream from melting.
Fold in. Churn your ice cream as normal, and, when completely churned, simply fold in the cherries. You can serve some immediately, or pack the ice cream into an airtight container and freeze to harden.
It’s homemade ice cream; how can it not get five stars? After all, homemade ice cream is easily better than any commercial ice cream, mainly because you use better ingredients, no-fillers or fake flavors, take your time, and simply make a better product.