We’ve been buying black cherries for a few weeks now and they’ve come down in price from $9/lb to $5 and to $3. While snacking on a cold, firm, sweet cherry is hard to beat, the fruit is often a bit mushy, or starts to bruise. Preserving them in alcohol is a handy way to extend their life, and enhance their flavour.
There’s a lot of uses for brandied cherries, but I wanted to try the cherry cheesecake ice cream recipe from the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Cookbook. About three weeks ago, I pitted a bunch of cherries that were past their prime, then give them a quick hot bath in sugar and alcohol. I embellished the recipe a bit, adding a few different kinds of liqueur and some additional warm spices.
Once those cherries were nice and boozy, I was ready to continue. The recipe calls for a standard base (cream, milk, eggs) with the addition of cream cheese added to the strained, hot custard. A hand blender helps to ensure there are no lumps. During churning, the drained, chopped fruit is added.
Unfortunately, this ice cream was disappointing. There is hardly any cherry flavour, and I found the boozy fruit to be too bitter. Some potential improvements: replacing some of the milk with cherry juice; adding some yogurt to boost the tanginess of the cream cheese flavour; garnishing servings with graham cracker crumbs.