During my honeymoon in Vancouver, I discovered and fell in love with gelato. A few years later on a trip to Italy, that love affair deepened. What I prefer about Italian gelato is the minimal butterfat that is required to make it. The flavors in gelato are more pronounced because the milkfat doesn’t dull the flavor. Fortunately, I discovered Jeni Britton, an artisanal ice cream maker in Ohio who shares my aversion to using eggs in ice cream. I found my hero and was finally able to test out one of her recipes. This sour cherry ice cream is an adaptation of Jenni's cream cheese and corn starch base. I also used David Lebovitz’s trick of adding alcohol to the ice cream to make sure it keeps a soft texture and doesn’t crystallize in the freezer. I think this is the closest I’ve come to homemade, soft-textured gelato. - Naked Beet —NakedBeet
Test Kitchen Notes
I don’t know whether or not sour cherries grow in Italy, but if they do, then this recipe may well set the standard of what sour cherry gelato should taste like. The consistency is extremely smooth, and the cherry flavor is first muted by the cream, but more poignant as you bite a cherry and lingers on your tongue, thanks to the brandy. I used fresh sour cherries as they grow abundantly in my area (central Pennsylvania) at this time of year. - cheese1227 —The Editors
approximately a pint+
1 1/2 ounces
+1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 3/4 cups
1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 tablespoons
light corn syrup
(1) 24 oz ounces
jar of pitted sour cherries, juice drained and reserved
Drain the cherries from the jar, reserving the liquid. Cut 3/4 of the cherries in half and refrigerate until you continue with the recipe. Place the cream cheese in a small bowl and mash with a fork, set aside. Mix the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of half and half (your mixed milk and cream) and set aside.
In a large pot, mix the rest of the milk and cream with the corn syrup and sugar. Bring to a boil over a medium heat. On a simmer, continue stirring for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the cornstarch mixture and bring this back to a boil. Cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens slightly.
Add the milk mixture to the cream cheese, whisking to incorporate. Add salt, almond extract and 1/4 cup of reserved cherry juice. Let the mixture cool completely over an ice bath or at room temperature. Refrigerate the cooled mixture for at least 4 hours or overnight. While you might be impatient to just put the ice cream into the machine right away, chilling it completely will keep the ice cream from crystallizing (that weird chalky texture) while it’s churning in the machine.
Using a fine mesh strainer, pour the liquid through the strainer. Any cream cheese or solids that haven’t been blended well will remain out and help make your ice cream smooth and creamy. Add the kirsch brandy to the liquid ice cream before pouring into your ice cream maker. Once in the ice cream machine, you can either add the chocolate and sour cherries while it’s mixing, or toward the end.
To keep the ice cream fresh, I line a glass pyrex container, top and bottom with saran wrap and keep it covered in the freezer. Once you’re ready to serve the ice cream, let it soften at room temperature for about 2 minutes. You’ll know “it’s ready” when you can scoop easily.