Rich chocolate cheesecake ice cream with swirls of roasted cherries with a hint of vanilla — it's easy to make but so hard to stop eating!
"More cherries?!? What are you going to do with them all??"
At one point earlier in the month, I had about six pounds of cherries in the fridge. I have been wanting to make a chocolate-and-cherry dessert for a while, but kept losing cherries to snacking by *someone* (Dave) in my house. And honestly, when you see cherries for $3.99 a pound, you snap them up and figure out what to do with them later, right?
If you make just one ice cream recipe this summer, make it this one. Rich chocolate cheesecake in ice cream form. I mean, I nearly had no ice cream to churn, because I couldn't stop sneaking tastes of the custard base.
Then the cherries. Oh, the cherries. Roasting concentrates the sugars and enhances the flavor. Vanilla bean paste, which combines the intense vanilla flavor of using a whole vanilla bean with the ease of using vanilla extract. It's not exactly "paste" consistency; it's more like a very thick vanilla extract with beautiful flecks of vanilla bean seeds.
If you've made homemade ice cream before, this recipe isn't much different, except for beating the custard base with the cream cheese. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the ice cream to harden before eating it!
For the cherry swirl:
- 12 oz sweet cherries, pitted
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
For the ice cream:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
Make the roasted cherries:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Line an 8-inch square baking sheet with tinfoil. Add the pitted cherries. Combine the sugar and cornstarch, then shake over the cherries. Toss until all the cherries are coated.
- Roast the cherries for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the juices are thick and bubbly. Let cool to room temperature, then scrape the cherries and their juices into a container and refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. Can be made up to a day ahead.
Make the ice cream:
- Place the chopped chocolate in a medium mixing bowl. Place the heavy cream and the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Scald the cream (heat just until bubbles begin to form at the edge), stirring with a whisk until the cocoa is incorporated. Pour the mixture over the chopped chocolate in the mixing bowl, and whisk until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is uniform in consistency. Set aside to cool.
- Add the milk, sugar, and salt to the medium saucepan over medium heat. While the milk mixture is heating, whisk the egg yolks constantly until lightened in color. Once the milk has reached scalding, very slowly pour a little of the hot milk over the yolks while continuing to whisk constantly. Once about a quarter of the milk has been added to the eggs, pour all of the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon without dripping when you run your finger through the mixture.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl with the chocolate mixture. Stir until fully incorporated, then stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer, then pour the chocolate custard over top. Beat with the paddle attachment on low speed at first, then increase speed to medium until the mixture is the consistency of chocolate pudding. Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate the mixer overnight.
- Pour the custard mixture into your ice cream maker, and churn according to manufacturers' directions. Once finished churning, scoop about a third of the ice cream into a freezer-safe storage container. Layer about half of the roasted cherries. Add another third of the ice cream, the remaining half of the cherries, and the last of the ice cream. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream, and cover with the storage container's lid. Freezer until hard, at least four hours, or overnight.
Adapted from Chocolate Moosey