Brandied Cherries Ice Cream
Vanilla Custard Sauce for Ice Cream
Makes approximately 3 Cups
Egg Yolks………………..6 (about ½ Cup)
Granulated Sugar……½ Cup + 1 Tablespoon (5oz)
Vanilla Bean……………½ (split lengthwise)
Vanilla Extract…………1-½ teaspoons
1. Combine egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whip until light and fluffy.
2. Bring the half-and-half (and the vanilla bean, if using) to the scalding point (this is the point just before beginning to boil, when you see a skin form on the surface).
3. Gradually pour the hot cream into the yolk mixture while stirring rapidly. (It is usually best to pour about a quarter of the cream in and stir quickly to “temper” the hot cream into the egg/sugar mixture. This will help prevent the final mixture from having little pieces of cooked egg yolk.) Add the remaining hot cream while stirring, until all is added and thoroughly combined.
4. Place the mixture over simmering water and heat slowly, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It is best to stir with a wooden spoon, or heat-proof spatula, trying not to incorporate too many air bubbles. Be careful not to get it hotter than 190˚F (88˚C) or it will curdle. (Mixture will form a thick, pale yellow ribbon when whisk is lifted out of the bowl.)
Note: Should you overheat and curdle the sauce, you can usually save it by adding 1 Tablespoon heavy cream and processing it in a blender, providing the sauce has only curdled and not scorched.
5. Immediately pour the custard into another container and continue stirring for a minute or so. Remove the vanilla bean half and save for another use, or stir in the vanilla extract. Set the sauce aside to cool, stirring from time to time. When cold, store in the refrigerator. The sauce will keep up to one week in the refrigerator.
Once cooled, you can place the mixture in the ice cream maker. Add your blend-ins according to the ice cream maker’s recommendations. (It is usually after the mixture starts to thicken and form crystals in the sauce.)
Brandied Cherries Ice Cream Blend-In (Prepare about a day in advance):
Soak about ¾ to 1 cup of dried tart cherries in enough brandy to just fully cover them. Cover with lid or wrap with plastic and leave for several hours, or overnight to fully plump and re-hydrate with the brandy. The cherries should be drained prior to blending in to the ice cream. You may also choose to coarsely chop them. It is a matter of preference whether you want to add some, or all, of the cherry brandy into the ice cream along with the cherries. (This may make it a little too sweet for some. You should also keep in mind that the extra alcohol may prevent the ice cream from freezing as fully.)
*Alternatively, you could gently warm the cherry/brandy mixture and pour over the ice cream prior to serving.