When I was little we used to spend part of the summer at our grandparents’ home in Downers Grove, outside of Chicago. I haven’t been back since, but at the time Downers Grove was a small suburban location, almost rural.
Two of my strongest memories from those visits pertained to food. Pepperidge Farm was located in Downers Grove and I used to love walking by their baking facility; the aroma of baking bread was almost tangible. The other memory was cherries. My grandmother used to can cherries from her trees and her pantry was laden with quart-sized jars of cherries.
I can’t recall what my grandmother looked like, or anything about her, but I do remember the shelves of canned cherries. They were delicious eaten right out of the jar and to this day I don’t think there’s anything tastier than a cherry pie made with fresh cherries.
Cherry season in Rome doesn’t last long, just a month or so from mid-May to the end of June. It’s unbearable that cherries are available for such a short time period, but it makes them all the more desirable when they are in season. I plan to bake a cherry pie this week, but today I opted for cherry ice cream. We’re doing an 80th birthday dinner for one of our clients and her family, and I’ve baked her a luscious chocolate birthday cake for the event. Cherries and chocolate are a natural together, so cherry ice cream seemed a grand idea on this hot June day.
My ice cream is in the freezer now and every half an hour or so I give it a good stir with a wooden spoon. It should be frozen solid by dinner time. Here’s the recipe:
- Cherries, pitted – 525 grams (3 cups)
- Sugar – 65 grams ( (1/4 cup)
- Cream – 410 ml (1 3/4 cups)
- Milk – 180 ml (3/4 cup)
- Egg yolks – 2
- Sugar – 65 grams (1/4 cup)
- Salt – a pinch
- Cherry syrup – 30 ml (2 tbsp)
- Pit the cherries using a cherry (olive) pitter, like the one below.
- Toss the cherries in the sugar and set aside.
- Cream the egg yolks and sugar together until the yolks are a pale yellow.
- Put the cream, milk and cherries in a blender and process until the cherries are roughly chopped.
- Cook the cream, milk and cherry mixture several minutes on medium until warm.
- Add the salt, egg yolks and sugar and cook several minutes over low heat until the mixture coats a wooden spoon.
- Stir in the cherry syrup.
- Place the pan in a sink full of ice water and stir occasionally until cool.
- Put the pan in the freezer and stir every 30 minutes until frozen solid.