I’m officially crazy for cherries. After picking up three pounds at Trader Joe’s recently, I’ve found so many recipes to use them in. This was my first time working with fresh cherries, and I had no idea what a mess I would make while pitting them. With results as delicious as this, I’d say my stained fingers and counter were well worth it. I’ve read that straws work for pitting cherries, but I didn’t want to take any chances and picked up a cherry pitter instead. It reduced the mess some and was very effective.
The first recipe I had in mind before I even bought these cherries was ice cream, specifically something similar to Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. That is, hands down, one of my favorite ice cream flavors, and I knew I had to recreate it. This ice cream is another simple one, no eggs needed. The milk and cream are first infused with the cherries, then the whole mixture is blended, turning the ice cream a beautiful pink color. Additional cherries are added for texture and flavor, and the whole thing is finished with chocolate chips. The amaretto adds a delicate almond flavor and also prevents the ice cream from freezing too hard, which is especially useful when the ice cream is made without eggs. It’s been forever since I’ve had Cherry Garcia, but I think this recipe comes pretty close.
- YIELD: about 1 quart
1½ cups pitted and halved fresh cherries
¾ cup milk
1¾ cups heavy cream
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
⅓ cup pitted and chopped fresh cherries
⅓ cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
Combine the 1½ cups cherries, milk, 1 cup of cream, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the mixture begins to steam, then reduce heat to low and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and, using a blender or immersion blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, preferably one with a pour spout, and stir in remaining cream. Chill until completely cold.
When ready to churn, stir in amaretto. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. When the ice cream has finished churning, place in an airtight container and fold in the remaining cherries and chocolate chips. Place in the freezer until completely frozen.