Fresh Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

Has anyone else noticed how expensive cherries are? Wow! They usually cost more than other summer fruit but this year it’s almost painful to buy them.

They better be really really good to justify the expense.

And I really hate that so many stores put a large bunch of them in a bag and make the customers think they have to buy the whole bag. This reminds me of Francis Bacon’s famous quote: 

“Like the strawberry wives, that laid two or three great strawberries at the mouth of their pot, and all the rest were little ones.”

Because if you look inside that bag of cherries you are sure to find some gushy ones, some moldy ones and more than a few of them overripe.

You actually don’t have to buy the whole bag. YOU are the customer and you buy what you want. 

I have some spare time today so I am going to nibble on a few of the cherries I bought, but use the rest for one of summer’s best ice cream flavors: cherry vanilla, my grandmother’s favorite. The first time I saw her eat some I made the usual wince face kids make when confronted with new food. The idea of putting anything in vanilla ice cream to distract from the good vanilla flavor seemed so strange that I remember it and it’s over 50 years ago.

Then I tasted.

Yum. It’s really not cherry vanilla. Because the best cherry vanilla ice cream has that hint of almond in it. At least that’s the way I always remembered it and the way I like it.


Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup coarsely cut pitted cherries

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups whole milk

2 cups whipping cream

2-inch piece vanilla bean, split open

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

Combine the cherries and almond extract in a bowl, mix and set aside. Place the milk, cream and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the liquid is hot and bubbles have formed around the sides of the pan. Set aside to cool. Beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together with an electric mixer set at medium speed until the mixture is thick and pale (4-5 minutes). Gradually add the milk mixture to the egg mixture, stirring to blend ingredients to a uniform color. Remove the vanilla bean (but scrape out as much of the seeds as possible into the pan). Heat the mixture, stirring frequently, until it has thickened, but do not let the mixture come to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool. Stir in the cherries, including any liquid. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes about 1-quart