Toasted Almond and Cherry Ice Cream



Toasted Almond and Candied Cherry Ice Cream
Makes about 1 1/2 Quarts

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
5 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup candied cherries, coarsely chopped


To toast almonds:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts in an even layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake the nuts in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring them once or twice while baking so they toast evenly. To see if they’re done, snap one in half: it should be lightly golden brown throughout. Let the nuts cool completely before using unless the recipe indicates otherwise.

To make candied cherries:
1 pound cherries, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 drop almond extract

Remove the stems and pit the cherries. Heat the cherries, water, sugar, and lemon juice in a large, nonreactive saucepan or skillet until the liquid starts to boil. Turn down the heat to a low boil and cook the cherries for 25 minutes, stirring frequently during the last 10 minutes of cooking to make sure they are cooking evenly and not sticking. Once the syrup is reduced to the consistency of maple syrup, remove the pan from the heat, add the almond extract, and let the cherries cool in their syrup. Drain the cherries in a strainer for about 1 hour (reserve the syrup for another use). Coarsely chop the drained cherries and fold them into 1 quart of ice cream as you remove it from the machine.

To make the ice cream:
Warm the milk, sugar, salt, and 1 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan. Finely chop 1 cup of the almonds and add them to the warm milk. Cover, remove the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Strain the almond-infused milk into a separate medium saucepan. Press with a spatula or squeeze with your hands to extract as much flavor from the almonds as possible. Discard the almonds.

Rewarm the almond-infused milk. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Stir in the almond extract and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After churning (or during the last few minutes), add the remaining 1 cup chopped almonds. When you remove the ice cream from the machine, fold in the chopped cherries.

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