Even though cherries aren't in season in the middle of winter, this somehow strikes me as a Christmas ice cream. Cherries and chocolate get along very well together, and the reduced lambic beer lends an extra boost of flavor. —Cristina Sciarra
Over medium-high heat, boil the lambic with ¼ cup of sugar in a Dutch oven until it is syrupy, about 20 minutes. Add the pitted cherries, and cover. Cook for about 25 more minutes, or until the cherries start to break down. Empty into a bowl, and bring to room temperature.
In a medium pot, combine the milk, the cream, 1/4 cup of sugar, and the salt. Heat the liquid over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it froths up in the pot. Turn off the heat.
In a separate small bowl, collect the egg yolks. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and whisk for about 2 minutes, or until the yolks look a lighter yellow.
Take a tiny measure of the milk mixture, and whisk it into the egg yolks. Keep adding the milk, little by little, whisking without pause as you go. When you’re finished, run the custard base through a sieve, add then add it back to the pot.
Turn the heat again to medium-low. Stir the custard almost constantly as it heats. You want it to coat the back of your spoon; after that, it’s done. Turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, heat the chocolate over a water bath until just melted, and then turn off the heat under the water bath. (The water will provide enough residual heat.)
This part is strenuous, but important, and worth it: Add the custard base slowly, so so slowly, to the melted chocolate. Whisk enthusiastically as you go. It's nice to have a partner for this part of the process--one to control the pour, and one to whisk. You're done when all the custard has been integrated into the chocolate. The base should be soft and velvety.
Move the custard to an ice bath. If you give it the occasional stir, it should be good and cold in about 45 minutes-1 hour. (You can also chill overnight in the fridge, which is even better.)
Pour the cold custard into an ice cream maker. Let it go for about 20-25 minutes, or until the ice cream reaches the consistency of soft-serve. (Don't let it go too long, or you will start to make butter.)
Spoon the ice cream and the lambic-cherries alternatively into a plastic container, forming layers/ripples. Leaving as little air between the ice cream and the lid as possible, and move it to the freezer for at least 2-4 hours. Take the ice cream out of the freezer 5-10 minutes before serving.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.