Sunday, August 5, 2012

Toasted Almond & Candied Cherry Ice Cream

Candied cherries + toasted almonds + cream = the most addictive ice cream ever.  I am not going to lie, this ice cream does take some work, but it's not hard. The only bad thing is that it just means it will take a little longer for you to enjoy. But, don't let that scare you away from trying this, okay? It's so worth the wait and the flavor is unlike anything you've ever had. You can do everything in steps, so it won't be overwhelming. That's what I did and it was a piece of cake. Or a scoop of ice cream. That was a bad joke. Sorry.

Let me tell you how to do this step by step.

Step One - Candy cherries. Take fresh or frozen cherries (if fresh, make sure to pit them!) and boil them in a lemon, water and sugar mixture for about 25 minutes. Stir a few times to make sure it's not sticking ensuring that once they are done, the syrup is like maple syrup -sticky and thick. Once they are ready, drain the cherries for an hour and then chop and place in the fridge until ready to use. You can do this up to a few days before (even up to a week or so!). See that wasn't so bad. Just don't try to taste the candied cherries right out of the pan. You will burn your mouth. I don't speak from experience, but I know someone out there won't be willing to resist trying them. I don't want you to go to the ER. I've been there, it's not fun. Not for a burn tongue though.

Step Two - Make the almond milk. Combine milk, sugar, cream and chopped almonds and bring to a medium heat. Turn off the heat and then let steep for an hour. After an hour, strain the milk and squeeze the almonds to get out as much of that flavor as you can. I know it sounds strange, but make sure you don't forget to squeeze them! You can do this ahead too. Just make sure to keep in the fridge after.

Step Three - Make the custard. Warm up the almond milk and place the remaining cream in a bowl (this is where the custard mixture will go to cool). While you are warming up the milk, whisk together the eggs and then slowly add them to the milk, making sure you continue to stir. You do not want scrambled egg ice cream. Keep whisking until the mixture is nice and thick - about 10 minutes give or take. Once cool, strain over the cream (if there are scrambled eggs in there, this will get rid of them). Add in the extract and amaretto (optional, but I think it's a must and it's my special ingredient!) and then let cool in fridge overnight. You can do this ahead a day or two too. 

All of that wasn't so bad, right? I know there are a lot of steps, but stay with me here. We are almost there. Promise!

Step Four - Make the ice cream! Freeze ice cream in an ice cream maker until nice and thick (about 8-10 minutes, but keep an eye on it, every ice cream machine is a bit different). During the last few minutes, add in the additional chopped almonds. Once the ice cream is ready, take out of the machine and fold in the chopped cherries. Place in a freezer-safe container and freeze overnight or for at least six hours.

Phew, that was a lot of steps, but like I said earlier, this ice cream is SO worth it. The cherries give it this sweet and tangy bite, the almonds give it great crunch and the almond extract and amaretto give it this sweet and nutty flavor that just can not be beat. You must try it. It's the perfect summer scoop.

yummy ingredients

candying the cherries

heating up the almond milk

ready to add in the yolks to the warmed milk

straining the custard into the cream

churning ice cream

adding in the almonds

folding in the cherries!

we had our ice cream with berry cornbread cobbler. YUM.

Toasted Almond and Candied Cherry Ice Cream (slightly adapted from

Yield: 1½ quarts
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream, divided
2 cups whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped, divided
5 large egg yolks
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup amaretto, optional. (I used 1/4 cup, but you can use as little or as much as you want. Just not too much or the mixture will not freeze properly).
1 cup Candied Cherries (recipe follows), coarsely chopped

Warm the milk, sugar, salt and 1 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan. Finely chop 1 cup of the almonds and add them to the warm milk. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour. 

Strain the almond-infused milk into a separate medium saucepan. Press with a spatula or squeeze with your hands to extract as much flavor from the almonds as possible. Discard the almonds. Rewarm the almond-infused milk. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Stir in the almond extract and amaretto and cool in fridge overnight or until fully chilled. Once completely cooled, freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add the remaining 1 cup chopped almonds. When you remove the ice cream from the machine, fold in the chopped cherries.

Candied Cherries
1 pound cherries, fresh or frozen
1½ cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 drop almond extract

Remove the stems and pit the cherries. Heat the cherries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a large, nonreactive saucepan or skillet until the liquid starts to boil. Turn down the heat to a low boil and cook the cherries for 25 minutes, stirring frequently during the last 10 minutes of cooking to make sure they are cooking evenly and not sticking. Once the syrup is reduced to the consistency of maple syrup, remove the pan from the heat, add the almond extract, and let the cherries cool in their syrup. Drain the cherries in a strainer for about 1 hour. Coarsely chop the drained cherries and fold them into the ice cream as you remove it from the machine. 

Warning - this ice cream may be addictive. My mom tried one bite and then immediately asked for more. I am not saying how much she ate, but let's just say, she loved it. There is something about cherries and almonds together.


1 comment:

  1. Wow! That looks over the top way too good. It's a good thing Ryan came up here for the week, he wouldn't fit in the Cardinal if I left him home with you. :) I suppose I am lucky because you can't ship ice cream to Oregon, but it is no fair that you make such exquisite deserts and I don't get any. :(