Friday, July 28, 2006

Sour Cherry Frozen Custard

Ever since I spotted this post from Shuna Fish-Lydon on her fascinating food blog Eggbeater a few weeks ago, I have been DYING for some Sour Cherry Frozen Custard. The craving did not leave me when I dined at Cafe Chloe a week ago and had the fresh housemade cherry ice cream that just happened to be on their menu that night. It was good, but it was not what I was looking for. I knew exactly what I wanted, and it had to be creamy, sour, and rich with that eggy-custardy flavor. (Frozen Lemon Custard is a favorite of mine - and I can't wait to try and make some using the flavor of the lemon ice cream I made a few weeks ago.)

After some poking around on Epicurious and on the internet, I found recipes for sour cherry ice cream and frozen custard and cobbled them together to come up with this formula. If you have a Trader Joes nearby, I found that the syrup from the Morello cherries they sell in a jar worked ok, but the recipe I used recommended sour cherry syrup from a Middle-Eastern market. If you can find it I would use it. I also used dried cherries - but I suspect thawed and drained frozen sour cherries would work just as well if not better.

Sour Cherry Frozen Custard
Adapted from Epicurious and Random Internet Sources

2 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup cherry juice or syrup from a can or jar (I used the syrup from a jar of Trader Joes Morello Cherries)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2/3 cup unsweetened dried bing cherries, roughly chopped (could also use fresh or thawed and drained frozen sour cherries)
1 cup half and half

Heat the milk and pinch of salt in a 2 qt saucepan over medium-high heat until scalded (bubbles will begin to form at the edge and it will smell "cooked")

In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and egg yolks together until thick and smooth.
Whisk a little of the hot milk into the sugar and yolk mixture, and then very slowly add the rest, whisking continuously. Pour the egg, milk and sugar mixture back into the pan, and cook over medium- high heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon (about 6-8 minutes).

Pour the custard mixture into a shallow metal bowl. Set in an ice water bath and stir to cool - or simply allow to cool at room temperature for a few minutes and place in the refrigerator (use a towel if you have glass shelves).

Place the cherry syrup and lemon juice in a glass measuring cup and add the dried cherries. Heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to soften the cherries and help them absorb the juice (or heat the juice and cherries on the stove in a small saucepan). Let the mixture cool and place in the refrigerator to chill with the custard mixture.

When the custard is thoroughly chilled, stir in the half and half and the cherry juice, reserving the cherries.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add the cherries when the ice cream is frozen to a soft consistency. Transfer to a container and ripen in the freezer for 3-4 hours before serving.

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