Monday, July 19, 2004

Cherry and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Since my sister was making the cake for our birthday celebration last Saturday, I decided I would make some ice cream.  I got my ice cream maker a couple of months ago and I love it.  Up until now, I had been focusing on making low-fat ice cream.  Since this was a special occasion and, most importantly, I would not be eating the entire batch myself, I thought I would give real cream a try.
I had that five pound box of cherries sitting in my refrigerator, so there was little question what the star ingredient would be.  I based my recipe on Alton Brown’s Serious Vanilla Ice Cream and took inspiration from Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice Cream.
I tinkered with the amounts of dairy products and sugar in Alton Brown’s recipe in order to increase the quantity to somewhere around 1 ½ quarts, which is the capacity of my ice cream maker.  When I was doing the math, though, I failed to take into account the chocolate and cherries that I would be adding later.  I had to stir the cherries in after the ice cream was removed from the ice cream maker because there just wasn't room for them in the ice cream maker.  This wasn’t a huge problem, but I do think the cherries melted the ice cream a little.  Maybe I should have frozen the cherries before adding them!
The ice cream was really delicious and was a big hit at the party.  The flavor from the vanilla bean was incredible.  My only complaint would be that the texture of the cherries wasn’t what I had hoped for.  If you’ve ever had Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, you know that the cherries in it are soft and chewy.  The cherries in my ice cream after two hours in the freezer were a little icy and by no means chewy.  The next day they were quite icy.  Next time (and there will be a next time!) I think I’ll try cooking the cherries in a simple syrup first.
Cherry and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Makes over 1 ½ quarts
2 ½ cups half & half
1 cup whipping cream
1 ¼ cups sugar
¼ cup cherry puree (puree fresh cherries in blender)
1 vanilla bean 
2 cups quartered cherries
3 ½ - 4 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
Combine half & half, cream, sugar, and cherry puree in a large saucepan.  Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the pulp.  Add both the vanilla pulp and the bean to the mixture in the saucepan.  Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 170 degrees F.  If you don’t have a thermometer, bring the mixture just barely to a simmer – don’t let it boil.  Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool slightly.  Remove the vanilla bean, transfer the mixture to a covered container, and chill it in the refrigerator overnight.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Add the chocolate and cherries near the end – if necessary stir them in after the ice cream is removed from the machine.  Put the ice cream in a covered container and let it harden in the freezer for at least an hour before serving.


Cathy said...

Hi Pipstar - you'll love your ice cream maker! Making ice cream is so much fun - you can really play around with the recipes.

Reid said...

Hi Cathy,

You read my mind. Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia is my favorite! This looks delicious...I'm so tempted to start making some ice cream again! Especially since the weather has been so hot and humid here!

Cathy said...

Reid - if you figure out how to get the cherries to be like the ones in Cherry Garcia, let me know!

Anonymous said...

In regards to the cherry texture...almost all of the cherry ice cream recipes I've read have you cooking the cherries in a simple syrup first...that may be the trick. However, the Cherry Garcia recipe from the Ben&Jerry's book has you cook neither the cherries nor the egg/cream/milk mixture. This makes me skeptical of the accuracy of that recipe. Has anyone tried that version? I am making this today, so I will let you know how it turns out.

Cathy said...

Hi Amy - I think you're right about the cherries - that sounds like it would do the trick. I saw another recipe recently and she did freeze the cherries before adding them, so I think that would be a good idea too. I've never tried any of the Ben & Jerry recipes, but I've heard they're good. The one thing that I'm a little leary about is that they don't cook the eggs. Anyway, I can't wait to hear how yours turns out!

Anonymous said...

One way that might solve the chewy cherry problem is to get dried cherries and reconstitute them by soaking them for about 20 minutes in a hot liquid (use water or a mixture of water and a liquor such as Kirsch). This will get them plump enough to use, but not enough to cause them to freeze hard). I would soak them, then drain and put in the freezer for about 30 to 60 minutes before adding them to the ice cream.
I do the same thing with the raisins when I make cinnamon rolls.