Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2009 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
This gelato churns to a creamy blush and is studded with garnet sour cherries. It is delicious on its own or with a spoonful of rich, bittersweet chocolate sauce drizzled over it. The recipe is adapted from Domenica Marchetti's Big Night In: More Than 100 Wonderful Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends Italian Style, (Chronicle Books, 2008).
FROZEN RECIPE HELP
Pitting sour cherries sounds like drudgery, but it's simple. Because sour cherries are so soft you can easily push out the pit with your fingers. Even better, use the paper clip trick: Unbend a clean paper clip to a long S-shaped wire with two curved ends. Gently push the smaller curved end into the cherry through the stem end until you reach the pit; then scoop it out.
For The Gelato:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 whole vanilla bean, split
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup superfine sugar
Pinch of salt
4 1/2 packed cups pitted sour cherries, also known as pie cherries, cut in half; can use fresh cherries, instead
1/2 cup granulated sugar
For The Bittersweet Chocolate-Cherry Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
8 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons salted butter
1 tablespoon Kirsch; Kirsch is a clear, potent cherry brandy manufactured primarily in Germany. Use cognac as a substitute.
To Make The Gelato
1. Place the milk and heavy cream into a large saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan and add the pod to the pan as well. Bring the milk and cream just to a boil but take care not to let the mixture boil over. Remove the pan from the heat.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg yolks with the superfine sugar and salt until light and thick. Whisk a small ladleful of the hot milk and cream into the eggs, whisking quickly to prevent the eggs from curdling.
3. Add 4 or 5 more ladlefuls of the milk mixture, one at a time, whisking all the while. Pour the egg-milk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk and cream, and whisk to combine thoroughly.
4. Cook the custard on medium-low to medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 20 minutes or until it is thick enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not let the custard boil. Remove from heat, and pour the custard into a heatproof bowl.
5. Remove and discard the vanilla bean pod. Cover the custard with plastic wrap, making sure to press the wrap right onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
6. Place 3 cups of the cherries and the granulated sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring the cherries to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the sugar has melted and the cherries are soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Pass the cooked cherries through a food mill fitted with the disk with the smallest holes. If you don't have a food mill, puree the cherries in a food processor or blender, then strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. You should have about 1 1/4 cups of liquid. Put the liquid in a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, until it is slightly thickened and reduced to about 1 cup. Remove the cherry syrup from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
7. Stir the cherry syrup into the cold custard and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled.
8. Freeze the cherry custard in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream is just about done, mix in the remaining 1 1/2 cups cherries. Transfer the ice cream to a tightly lidded container and freeze until hard.
To Make The Sauce:
In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk together the cocoa and heavy cream until smooth. Place the pan over medium heat and stir in the corn syrup, chocolate and butter. Gently stir or whisk frequently until the chocolate has melted. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and let boil gently for 5 minutes, or until thickened to a sauce consistency. Remove the sauce from the heat and let cool 5 minutes. Stir in the Kirsch.
To serve, scoop the ice cream into glass bowls and top with a drizzle of warm chocolate-cherry sauce.