If you know me even vaguely, you probably know my two favorite foods are cheeseburgers (the good kinds) and ice cream (all kinds). But that was before I ever made ice cream from scratch. Now I think my one and only favorite food is homemade cherry chocolate ice cream.
I’ve made five different batches of ice cream since shooting this video. I’m totally addicted.
I’ve made vanilla bean (with a whole Madagascar vanilla pod), Philadelphia style vanilla (no eggs), fresh basil (bright green), toasted hazelnut and chocolate. On deck are peanut butter and Vietnamese iced coffee.
During the process of making lots of ice cream I’ve learned mostly what NOT to do. Here are the points I have found to be most crucial. Make sure to start your machine before you add in your ice cream base. If adding fruit, make sure to bake it slightly (5-10 minutes) and drain the liquid (to prevent iciness) before adding it to the last 5 minutes of your churn. Number three, once your Kitchenaid attachment starts making a strange clicking sound, STOP CHURNING or you’re going to end up with chocolate butter.
The reason I decided on this flavor was because I saw beautiful cherries at the farmer’s market which instantly reminded me of my dad. He loves cherry anything– cherry soda, cherry pie and he even has a cherry tree. He’s also an old school New Yorker who rarely gets tired of classic combinations. Like hot dogs and sauerkraut, bagels and lox, egg rolls and duck sauce–cherries and chocolate go hand in hand.
What I didn’t understand before making this complex flavor is that in order to make great ice cream, all of your components have to be just right. For a smooth, silky base, you need to make sure you don’t overcook your custard and that it’s chilled overnight (or thoroughly in an ice bath) before it gets poured into the machine.
Anything else that goes into the machine must be COLD (not almost cold) so that you don’t bring the temperature down and mess up the consistency of your base. That means that the cherries have to be baked slightly, drained and refrigerated before you even get near the ice cream machine. There’s no “I think I’ll just throw ’em in pits and all” attitude happening here.
Then there’s the chocolate. We’ve all had ice cream with chocolate chips that are waxy and take way too long to melt. By the time you chew the chocolate, the ice cream base has long since slid past your tongue. I’ve also had the opposite problem, where the chips are too thin and I can barely taste any chocolate or feel any texture at all. What’s the point?
Taking a tip from Serious Eats, I decided to make straciatella, adding olive oil to my melted chocolate and drizzling it into my ice cream base right at the end. Adding the olive oil lowers the melting point of the chocolate giving you perfect texture and flavor at the same time.
In my first ice cream attempt I didn’t get the cream to milk ratio down. I used half and half and whole milk, but it just wasn’t creamy enough. So I’ve tweaked the recipe below because since making this flavor my ice cream knowledge has grown exponentially (as has my ass).
So here you have it, the first Bell & Basket ice cream recipe. Enjoy!
Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream
2 cups of cream
1 cup of whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup of sugar
pinch of salt
1 bunch of cherries, pitted
1/4 cup of sugar
1 4 oz bar of 55% dark chocolate
2 tsp olive oil (1 tsp for every 2 oz of chocolate)
Add your heavy cream, milk, sugar and salt into a small pot until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream.
Return pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cool mixture to room temperature and chill overnight (or chill in an ice bath until it’s really cold if you can’t wait).
Add sugar to cherries and mix to coat. Place on a sheet pan and bake cherries for 5-10 minutes at 350 degrees. This allows the cherries to release their juices. Place in the fridge overnight.
After the base is chilled overnight it should set into a velvety custard. Turn your ice cream machine to stir and slowly pour in your base. Let it do its thing for about 15 minutes. Drain cherries and set aside.
In a double boiler, melt chocolate and add olive oil until smooth. remove from heat and set aside.
After the ice cream base has almost tripled in volume (15-20 minutes), add cherries while machine is still moving. Let it do its thing for another 5 minutes. Turn off machine, remove attachment and add the chocolate, mixing between pours. Put ice cream in a quart container and place in freezer. I prefer to let the ice cream set for at least 2 hours before scooping but if you can’t wait, I don’t blame you.