Does this make you hungry yet? Surely, you left room for dessert. Here is a wonderful dessert perfect for summertime, although more ice cream is eaten during the winter months. Go figure.
We went to the market last weekend and cherries were being delivered. We bought some thinking we would do something with them. There is a cherry clafoutis I have been wanting to make. Cherry pie is always wonderful. There is a cherry mustard chicken recipe that intrigues me. Cherries also pair well with beef and pork but given we don’t eat very much red meat those dishes weren’t on the agenda. Then there was Quickstep. After nothing had been done with the cherries for 2 days, Quickstep decided he would eat them for breakfast. While he didn’t eat all of them, he did put a serious dent in them, enough so that I didn’t have enough to make much. So, off to the market he went to buy some more.
In the meantime, Baby Lady had been talking about making some ice cream. Baby Lady loves fresh fruit, especially cherries. She waits for summertime because Blue Bell Ice Cream makes a cherry vanilla ice cream in the summertime. It is only available during a short period and if you miss it, c’est la vie. So, rather than a clafoutis, ice cream it became. No ordinary ice cream mind you but an incredible creme anglaise cherry ice cream with a chocolate ancho cherry sauce. Now for those of you who don’t know what is creme anglaise, creme anglaise is French for “English Cream.” It’s a very thin custard used as a dessert cream or sauce. It also makes the very best ice cream base, rich and creamy. For the others out there who are wondering why in the world you you blend ancho chile with cherries and chocolate, the combination is surreal. The earthiness of the chile brings out the flavor of the chocolate which is then accented by the cherries with a little lingering, very mild, almost undetectable heat on the back end. Together the combination is absolutely killer. You owe it to your self to try this dessert.
For the Sauce
- 4 cups fresh cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
For the ice cream
- 3 cups half and half
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 cup chilled whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Sauce
First, pit and chop the cherries. Place the cherries in a heavy bottom saucepan and add 1 cup of sugar. Let macerate for 2 hours. After 2 hours, place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove 1 cup of cherries and juice from the pan and set aside for the ice cream. Let the mixture sit about 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate morsels and melt into the cherry mix, stirring with a flat wooden spoon mashing the chocolate on the bottom of the saucepan as it’s melting until it is fully incorporated. Add 1 tsp of Ancho chile powder and stir to incorporate. Set aside until ready for use.
For the Creme Anglaise
Traditional method: Add 1 cup of milk to a medium sauce pan over high heat and scald. Add 3/4 cup of sugar, the scrapings from the vanilla bean, vanilla extract, and heavy cream to the milk and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Place egg yolks in a bowl and temper the egg yolks by slowly adding a 1 cup of the sugar cream mixture to the bowl and whisking until the egg yolks and cream mixture are fully incorporated. Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the cream sugar mixture and return the saucepan to medium low heat, whisking frequently, heating until the mixture reaches 176 F or until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and place pan in a ice water bath to cool, whisking periodically.
Sous Vide method: Put the milk and sugar in a blender (we use our vita mix) and blend until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cream, vanilla bean scraping and vanilla extract and slowly blend to incorporate. Pour liquid into a food safe vacuum bag and seal or use two 1 Qt jars and tightly screw on the lids. Place in an immersion circulator heated to 80 C (176 F) and leave for 30 minutes. Remove from immersion circulator and place in an ice water bath. If using jars, allow to cool a little before placing in the ice bath to help prevent breakage.
You can make the creme anglaise 1 – 2 days ahead of time, stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container.
For the Ice Cream
Add the reserved 1 cup of cherries and juice to the creme anglaise and stir to incorporate. Pour into your ice cream maker and following the instructions of your ice cream maker, freeze the ice cream until done. Put in a freezer for 30 minutes to harden the ice cream.
Serve and enjoy.