Sunday afternoon is just about the perfect time for ice cream. (Although I might also argue that ten-thirty Tuesday night or five on a Friday evening are also the perfect times for ice cream.) This particular Sunday is no exception, in fact it might be the kind of Sunday that begs for an ice cream interlude.
Enter the ice cream of choice this sunny afternoon: Cherry-Almond.
This ice cream took me three days to make. And I don’t regret a moment of it. I took it slowly, working on a piece here (Tuesday morning), another piece there (Wednesday evening) and a finally getting around to finishing it (Thursday) so that I could enjoy it this weekend. It’s a recipe from a new ice cream book I bought, Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones, from the Bi-Rite Creamery in San Fransisco.
I was drawn to this recipe – mostly because cherries were on sale and this recipe doesn’t require me to pit them. But also because in the course of making it, it creates a cherry simple syrup that is simply delicious with sparkling water. Did I mention it’s also my friend, Laura’s, favorite flavor combinations? And Laura undoubtedly deserves something special. I’ve chewed her ear off over lunch or cocktails or splitting the CSA for the past several weeks while I was working on my manuscript. So I made up a batch of ice cream just for her – although I managed to squirrel some away for myself. I ate some this afternoon with such enthusiasm that I managed to drip all over myself.
But that’s okay. It’s Sunday and I still haven’t dressed for the day.Cherry Almond Ice Cream adapted ever-so-slightly from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones makes ~1 quart ********** 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar 1 1/2 cups water 2 cups cherries 3/4 cup raw slivered almonds 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 2 cups milk 1/4 teaspoon salt 5 egg yolks *********
Poach the cherries:
In a small saucepan bring the 2 1/4 cups sugar and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and add the cherries. Cook until the cherries are soft and cooked through, about 5 minutes. remove from heat and let the cherries cool completely in the syrup. Drain the cherries (Save that syrup … consider it a cherry simple syrup and is an excellent component of cream soda or cocktails) and squeeze the pits out of the fruit. Chop in 1/4-inch pieces.
Prepare the almonds:
Preheat oven to 350º. Spread almonds onto a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until the nuts are fragrant. Cool completely. Combine with 3/4 cup sugar in food processor and pulse until finely ground.
Infuse the cream:
Transfer the almond mixture to a large saucepan. Add the cream, milk and salt. Warm over low heat until small bubbles begin to form around the edges. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for ~45 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk the yolks to break them up. Set aside. Return the almond-dairy mixture over heat and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Slowly pour warm dairy into eggs, while whisking constantly. Pour back into the saucepan and cook until thick, stirring slowly with a heat-proof spatula. Strain through a very fine mesh strainer into a clean batter bowl. Chill thoroughly.
Freeze in an ice cream maker. Fold in chopped cherries.