Each spring, I eagerly await the appearance of Bing Cherries in our grocery store and I prowl the produce aisles waiting to see the stacks of glossy red fruit. Why? Because my father-in-law loves Bing Cherry Ice Cream, and I try to make it for him on Father’s Day each year.
Up until this past week, I used to pit the cherries by hand, with a paring knife – but this year, I caved, and bought an Oxo Cherry pitter. I cannot believe how much faster I was able to pit the cherries! (FYI – This very inexpensive pitter is the bomb!)
When choosing Bing cherries, make sure you select large, smooth, plump, dark cherries; the darker the cherry, the sweeter it is. And try not to pick any that are hard; cherries will not ripen further once they’ve been picked!
BING CHERRY ICE CREAM
Makes approximately 1 quart.
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 2 cups fresh Bing Cherries, washed, stemmed, pitted and halved
* 6 ounces cream cheese*, room temperature
* 1 1/2 cups milk
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
*Do NOT try to substitute Neufchâtel, or fat-free, cream cheese in this recipe. The ice cream will never set up properly. Trust me, I ruined a whole batch when I did this!
Step 1: In a small saucepan, on medium heat, combine water, 3/4 cup of sugar and cherries. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.
Step 2: Remove cherries from heat and let cherries steep for 30 minutes. Drain the cherries and discard the syrup. (FYI – You can also save the syrup for mixed drinks — as you’ve just created a “simple syrup”.)
Step 3: Transfer the cherries to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
Step 4: In a mixer, (I heart my KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer), process the cream cheese until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Step 5: Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, cream and remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally to help dissolve sugar, until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes.
Step 6: Slowly add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture to the cream cheese and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining milk mixture and process 30 seconds more. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.
Step 7: Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. (Or, you can create an ice water bath as seen in my Watermelon Ice Cream recipe.)
Step 8: Transfer the ice cream mixture to an ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. When nearly frozen, add the cherries. Churn until just mixed. Transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours before serving.
Thanks for reading,
*This is an old Williams-Sonoma recipe, from the Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Ice Cream, by Mary Goodbody (Simon & Schuester, 2003).
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