Trail of drunken cherries.
I’m a fruit snob, I won’t deny it. Bruised? Blemished? Too soft? Over-ripe? Grainy? Off to the trash it goes – without hesitation. Perhaps the one fruit that has earned my leniency is cherries. While my inclination is to flick them over to my trash can and announce my disdain for their inedible imperfection, I’ve found that cherries soaked in alcohol are almost better than perfect cherries. Grand marnier, rum, whiskey – I’m not picky. And so, I begin to collect the imperfects in the freezer until I have enough to make a handsome cherry-studded chocolate ice cream…with a generous pour of rum (where the alcohol deliberately and delightfully has not been cooked out). Add in some cream, dark chocolate, sugar, and a bit more rum, and then you may not have the perfect Summer body but there is perfection staring at you in the form of ice cream.
- 1 1/3 cups halved pitted cherries (about 13 ounces whole cherries)
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup dark rum (or water)
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Put the cherries, 2 tablespoons sugar and the rum in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until syrupy, about 20 minutes. If you want the rum flavor to be stronger, add in ¼ cup of rum and cook until syrupy and then add in the remaining ¼ cup of rum aftere 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool, then refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, heat the milk and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the warm milk mixture into the eggs, then whisk the egg mixture into the saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats a spoon and registers 168 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat; add the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate and the butter and set aside until the chocolate melts, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the chocolate mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.
Churn the chilled chocolate mixture in an ice cream maker. Strain the cherry mixture, reserving the syrup. When the ice cream is very thick, add the cherries and continue churning until incorporated. Transfer to a freezer-safe container. Drizzle in the reserved cherry syrup and swirl with a spoon. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
Adapted slightly from Foodnetwork.com