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Homemade Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream made with fresh cherries, heavy cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla is one of the best indulgences of the summer!
When it comes to ice cream flavors, we are a house divided. Half of us (ahem, Paul & Rose) are all about the chocolate flavors. If there isn’t any chocolate in it, they will eat it but it’s just not their thing. The other half of us (myself & Clara) are all about the fruit flavors.
So while I think the caramel oreo fudge ripple ice cream I shared the other day is good (I mean, c’mon, I’m no fool who is going to say no to that kind of decadence!), my tastebuds really gravitate toward this cherry vanilla ice cream flavor more instead.
Now, the biggest hesitation I have when working with fresh cherries in a recipe is how I’m going to get those dang pits out since I don’t have a cherry pitter. I probably should get one, I just never have.
But it’s really not necessary here because the cherries are going to be poached before adding them to the vanilla ice cream base anyway. Poaching the cherries softens them so that the pits slip right out, no cherry pitter needed.
It also makes it so that when the poached cherries freeze in the ice cream, you still get a nice mouthfeel rather than icy chunks of rock hard frozen cherries, which is what happens when you just toss fresh cherries straight into ice cream without poaching them first.
How to poach cherries for cherry vanilla ice cream
Poaching cherries is super simple. It’s just a matter of combining sugar, water, and cherries in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bringing to a boil, creating a simple syrup that the cherries cook in. Then lower the heat to a simmer, and cook until the cherries are soft, about 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the cherries cool completely in the syrup, then drain, remove the pits by squeezing them out of the cherries, and chop the fruit into small pieces. Chill until ready to add to the churned vanilla ice cream.
After the vanilla ice cream base is churned, add the cold, chopped cherry pieces and continue to churn or fold in with a spatula until evenly dispersed through the ice cream before transferring the ice cream to a container and freezing for 4 hours until hardened.
Other Ice Cream Flavors for Fruit Lovers to Try
- Rainbow Sherbet
- Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
- Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream
- Lime Sherbet
- Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
- Nutella Swirl Ice Cream
- Coconut Macadamia Nut Ice Cream
- Toasted Almond Ice Cream
- Butter Pecan Ice Cream
- Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
- Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream
For the cherries
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups cherries
For the base
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Poach the cherries
- In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, water and cherries to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the cherries are soft, about 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and let the cherries cool completely in the syrup.
- When cool, drain the cherries and squeeze out the pits, then chop the cherries into small 1/4-inch pieces and refrigerate until ready to add to the churned ice cream. The syrup can be saved to drizzle over ice cream, swirl into club soda, or add to lemonade where it calls for a simple syrup.
For the Vanilla Base
- Heat half of the sugar with the cream, milk, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the mixture approaches a bare simmer, then reduce the heat to medium.
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until light. When the cream mixture is hot, temper the eggs by whisking 1 cup of the hot liquid into the egg yolks, then add this to the rest of the hot cream mixture in the saucepan.
- Cook, continuing to stir, just until the mixture reaches 175 degrees F on a candy thermometer and is thick enough to coat the back of the spatula or wooden spoon and holds a clear line when you run a finger along the back of the utensil.
- Chill completely before adding the vanilla, then churning the ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add the chopped cherries in the last minute of churning or fold in using a spatula once the ice cream has churned.
- Transfer to a container and freeze for 4 hours until frozen hard.