I turned 24 last week. I’m not old (although I sometimes feel old and bitter) but I’m not a child anymore, and it was five years since I was a teenager. As you grow out of childhood and into the responsibility of being an adult you usually get less and smaller presents for your birthday. I don’t really mind; if I want something these days I can usually get it myself because with adulthood comes independence in many ways. However, there is one person that’s still spoiling me; Keith. On my birthday he put a huge box on top of our bed filled with little and big presents. I started with the small ones, opening them in the order he suggested, and at the end there was a big box. I lifted it out, it turned out to be quite heavy, and opened it.
Many people give hints about what they’d like starting a few weeks before their birthday, I’m usually one of them, but my hints are always very subtle (because I do prefer my presents to be personal and thoughtful rather than something I picked out myself) thus not pushing anyone into getting anything for me, but this year I was so busy that I simply forgot.
And that’s why I was surprised when I saw that in the box there was an ice cream machine, which is something I’ve wanted for a long time. It was even the model I was thinking about getting, I guess it helped that we looked into ice cream machines together (reading Ruben’s blog Ice cream science for example, he has written some excellent reviews). As you know I’ve made ice cream before a few times so I already had access to an ice cream machine but the one I used to use was very poor and we got inconsistent result with it (even though the canister had been in the freezer for days before using it it quite liked to turn my ice cream into frozen slush every now and then and it also fell apart while churning the ice cream) and I was tired of taking chances with my ice cream batters that’ve taken time to make and that contained expensive, good quality ingredients.
I was (and still am) very happy, and spent quite some time last week looking at the box next to our bed and stroking the ice cream machine. I also spent quite some time on my birthday and other days last week thinking about what ice cream to make, and I ordered The Perfect Scoop from Amazon to give me more inspiration (although after reading the info bit about technique and ingredients involved I feel like I should have chosen a book that’s more in depth about how ice cream works rather than using up most of the pages on recipes). Together with Keith we eventually decided that the very first batch of ice cream to make in our ice cream machine would be cherry ice cream with coarsely chopped almonds and dark chocolate chips. It felt like a nice way to start a new era of ice cream making (yes, I know. I shouldn’t be this into kitchen appliances).
The ice cream turned out nice, but was a little bit crumbly when it came to scooping it. After doing some reading I figured out that I might need to use more cream in the recipe, some alcohol in it, more glucose syrup, more sugar or (my own thoughts now) not puree any of the cherries because that will make the cherries mix in more with the ice cream thus needing to add more fat and sugar to the ice cream mixture to make it creamy again. It’s absolutely not a problem when it comes to eating it (just leave it out 5-10 minutes before eating), so I suggest that you make some of it if you fancy, but I’m a perfectionist and feel like I should point it out to you.
Faults aside, the cherry flavour has got quite a bit of a kick to it. It’s very tangy and a little of this ice cream goes a long way. The chocolate chips add some richness and bitterness to it and together with the buttery, soft flavour of the toasted almonds it balances the tartness of the cherries nicely, mellowing it ever so slightly and giving it depth.
(Keith really liked the ice cream. I’m planning on making ice cream once a week now and I have a feeling he’s not going to regret giving me the ice cream machine! He’s almost as into eating ice cream as I am)
Cherry almond chocolate chip ice cream
301 g/10.6 oz milk
342 g/12.1 oz cream
40 g/1.4 oz glucose syrup
115 g/4.1 oz sugar
3 big egg yolks
550 g/19.4 oz frozen cherries
70 g/2.5 oz toasted almonds
100 g/3.5 oz dark chocolate chips
Put the milk and cream in a saucepan together with the glucose syrup. Bring to the boil and put the saucepan carefully in a basin with cold water and let the mixture cool for about half an hour. Whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar for about two minutes until it’s fluffy and pale in colour. As you whisk, pour the milk and cream mixture carefully into the egg and sugar mixture. Make sure that you pour the milk and the cream mixture into the egg and not the other way around or the egg mixture might curdle. After the two mixtures are combined, pour into the saucepan again and heat on medium heat while whisking until the mixture is 84 degrees C or it’s thick enough to cover the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture into a bowl and put it into the water filled basin again to cool down, stirring every now and then to prevent a skin from forming. When it’s cooled down, cover with cling film and put it in the fridge over night.
Start with the cherry puree. Put the cherries in a saucepan together with 40 g sugar and heat it. You don’t need any water because the frozen cherries should release plenty. Keep into the mixture while stirring until it’s reduced to about half the amount you started with, you want it thick and syrupy. At this point I pureed about 2/3 of the mixture but I recommend not doing that. Let it cool down in the fridge until it’s the same temperature as the ice cream custard.
Make sure you have your almonds toasted and chopped and your chocolate chips out. Pour the custard in the ice cream machine quickly followed by the cherry puree. When it looks like it’s almost done churning, slowly and carefully pour in the the almonds and the chocolate chips. Quickly use a rubber spatula (remember, no metal in the ice cream canister!!!) to scrape the ice cream into a tub and put it into the freezer and let it freeze into the consistency you want it before eating it.