This ice cream is a new entry for Food Nirvana. Think of it as a frozen dessert that captures the taste of chocolate covered cherries in a very nice ice cream. Of late I've been experimenting with variations of chocolate chip ice cream and this was an obvious one to try. So I did and I'm very pleased with the results. You will be too.
I decided to try making this ice cream because I buy very large jars of maraschino cherries in a lot of sweetened syrup for use in other recipes. Thus, I already have the cherry taste in both the cherries and the sweet syrup, along with the nice red coloring that becomes a nice pink with this ice cream. That means making a basic vanilla ice cream and adding the cherries and syrup leaves only one item to consider ... the chocolate. Fortunately, we have many choices for chocolate in typical supermarkets. What goes well with this ice cream is a 100% cacao chocolate bar (or the chocolate of your choice) shaved using a grater. My, how nice ... rich and tasty.
Break the eggs into a five or six quart electric mixer bowl and mix them on medium speed until they are frothy. Add the sugar and mix until well blended, around three minutes. Add the vanilla and the cherry juice and continue to mix for one minute.
Add the cream and the milk and mix thoroughly for two to three minutes on medium speed.
Transfer the mixture to a gelato maker and proceed to make the ice cream. When it is fairly stiff (about twenty-five minutes), add the chopped cherry pieces and the shaved chocolate and run the gelato maker for an additional five minutes. Transfer the completed ice cream to a two quart storage container. Put the container into the deep freeze for four hours or more to finish hardening the ice cream.
The key to making great French Vanilla ice cream is to include extra egg yolks, a Madagascar vanilla bean pod and a nice heavy cream content. The egg yolks add body, color and texture. The vanilla pod amps up the vanilla flavor considerably and puts those tiny specks of vanilla in the ice cream that you will see when buying a very high quality vanilla ice cream. The use of more cream and less milk makes a creamier ice cream. The recipe below has my changes. Do note that vanilla bean pod is expensive so you may opt to simply increase the amount of vanilla extract to three or four tablespoons, or buy vanilla beans online at a great price at www.myspicesage.com.
I have learned that Ben and Jerry are right about limiting the total amount of cream. Some milk causes the ice cream to take on the right amount of air during the freezing process to produce a consistency that is perfect.
Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrape all of the dark vanilla particles from the inside of each pod half, then set those particles aside in a small dish. Save the pod pieces for other uses, like putting them into a bowl of sugar to make vanilla sugar. Use your electric mixer to beat the eggs and the egg yolks on medium speed, then pause to add the sugar, the vanilla extract and the reserved vanilla particles and resume mixing. Mix thoroughly. Slowly add the cream and the milk while continuing to mix.
Transfer the mixture to a gelato maker and turn it on. After about 25 minutes check the ice cream to see if it is fairly stiff. If necessary continue to run the gelato maker for an additional ten minutes.
Transfer the ice cream from the gelato maker into a good quality 1½ to 2 quart plastic container that has a tight fitting lid. Put the lid on the ice cream and put the container into a deep freeze for four to six hours.
The ice cream is then ready to serve. It is delicious!
The temperature of a deep freeze is typically lower than that of the freezer of your refrigerator, and that means the deep freeze is superior to your refrigerator freezer in the last step of final freezing of the ice cream. Use your deep freeze and the ice cream will be ready within a few hours. Conversely, the freezer of your refrigerator may not properly freeze the ice cream at all (it depends in part on how you set your freezer settings), and even if it does you may have to wait until the next day to eat the ice cream properly frozen. Maple Walnut Ice Cream - ☺♥ This flavor of ice cream is pretty popular with some folks and is completely ignored by others. It was my mother’s favorite, it is Janet’s mother’s favorite and also the favorite of Janet’s best friend, Dottie. It turns out that this ice cream flavor is also my grandson Arthur's favorite as well. I just had to make some to keep everyone happy.
The ice cream recipe is another one from Ben and Jerry. I modified their recipe a bit but it is close to what they recommend. I changed the type and increased the amount of maple syrup and chopped walnuts. Ben and Jerry recommend grade C dark maple syrup, which is generally used as a food additive, not a syrup, because it is very strong in taste. Trust me, they are right. The Grade A syrups are far to diluted to be any good in making this ice cream. The Grade B syrup is better but you have to use more of it than the grade C syrup and even then the maple flavor is too weak.
Based on my experiments trying Grade A Dark Amber and Grade B Dark Amber neither syrup is sufficient to impart enough maple flavor to the ice cream. Grade C syrup is flat out not available. This means use grade B and supplement it with Crescent Mapleine® imitation maple flavor, which is what I have done with total success.
I have also learned that using pecans instead of walnuts is great! You definitely want to try pecans in this recipe instead of walnuts. Both are delicious but clearly different from each other. Have fun!