roasted cherry ice cream

cherry ice cream 7

In addition to all the other excitement around here, we found out the day that we closed on our new house that I’m pregnant. I’m so relieved that, at over four months along now, I’m past the stage of being tired all the time. One thing that hasn’t changed throughout this pregnancy? My desire for cold, creamy desserts.

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Ice cream isn’t usually a craving of mine, so it’s been fun to take this opportunity to play with recipes that wouldn’t normally catch my eye. This one seemed worth the extra effort even back when dragging myself off the couch took all of my limited energy. But it certainly has some tedious steps. Even pulling all the stems out of 3½ pounds of cherries takes a while. Then you just throw the chreries in the oven with some sugar, and once they’re soft and squishy, you squeeze the pits out – which is faster than pitting fresh cherries even with a pitter, but still slow.

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But the worst is pushing the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Based on the flecks of solid fruit in the picture on Serious Eats, compared to my smooth un-flecked custard, I believe my strainer is finer-mesh than Stella’s, which could be why straining was such an arduous, frustrating task. Next time I’ll just use my food mill on its finest setting – it’s not nearly as fine as my strainer, but it’ll be good enough, I expect.

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I would say it was worth the effort in the end, because this ice cream is intensely cherry-y. It’s so fruity that it almost tastes more like sherbet than cream-filled ice cream. It was the perfect treat at the end of a work- and toddler-filled day, when I could sit down with a book, a mug of tea, and a scoop of ice cream and then not move for at least an hour.

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Printer Friendly Recipe
Roasted Cherry Ice Cream (rewritten but not adapted from Stella Parks at Serious Eats)

I used the leftover cherry solids in sweet rolls, substituting it for the cinnamon-sugar mixture in this recipe.

To get the amount of strained cherry juice required by the recipe, I had to return the cherry pulp to the saucepan, add water, heat it up, then strain again. And again. And again. Don’t use your finest-mesh strainer for this. I’ll try a food mill on its finest setting next time.

3½ pounds (56 ounces; about 10 cups) whole cherries, washed and stemmed but not pitted
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) granulated sugar
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
1¾ cups (14 ounces) heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix the cherries and sugar in a 12-inch stainless-steel skillet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are wilted and soft, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly, then use your fingers to pull the cherries apart and remove the pits. Transfer the cherry pits to a medium saucepan. Transfer the pitted cherries to a food processor bowl. Leave the cherry juice in the skillet.

2. Add the heavy cream to the saucepan with the cherry pits. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside to steep.

3. Pulse the cherries in the food processor until minced but not pureed. Transfer them back to the skillet with the juice. Heat the cherries and juice over medium heat; reduce the heat to retain a simmer and cook until jammy, about 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer (see note). You should have 20 ounces of cherry juice. Discard the cherry solids or reserve for another use (stored in the refrigerator, they can be kept for up to three weeks and used like jam).

4. Strain the cream into the same container as the cherry juice; discard the pits. Stir in the salt and the lemon juice. Chill the mixture until it is 40 degrees, either for several hours in the refrigerator or more quickly by setting the bowl of custard inside a larger bowl filled with ice water.

5. Churn the custard in a prepared ice cream maker until it’s the consistency of soft-serve ice cream, about 25 minutes. Immediately transfer to a chilled container. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours.

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