Homemade Cherry Ice Cream made with vanilla bean and fresh summer cherries from the local cherry farm.
Since July is National Ice Cream Month, I have decided to share a few more ice cream recipes this month. It’s been a mild summer so far in the Bay Area but I’ve been testing quite a few ice cream recipes. I love the smile on my children’s faces when they eat my homemade ice cream happily. It’ll be sweet memories I cherish when they grow up one day.
Two weeks ago our family went cherry picking in Brentwood, California. It’s about 1-hour drive from San Francisco, and there are many orchards and farm fields in the area. This was the 2nd year we went cherry picking with our friends and their children and we all had a great time.
Cherry season is usually between May and June, so we were actually late this year going in the last week of June. Quite a few cherry farms had already closed for the season but we were able to find a few that were still open. It gets hot in this area so you might want to start picking fruits earlier in the day (we started around 9:30 AM) especially if you have small children. The cherries were $3 per pound, and we also went peach picking right after and they were $1 per pound. It’s the best way to get the freshest produce and also a great way to support local farmers.
Most of our cherries were enjoyed fresh by themselves but I also saved some to use in this ice cream recipe. I didn’t get to use it for baked goods this time but if you are interested, I baked Cherry Clafoutis last year.
Cherry Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅛ tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups cherries (2 cups after pitted and quartered)
- Gather all the ingredients. Freeze the ice cream maker's bowl for 24 hours. If you don't have an ice cream maker, check out here.
- In a medium saucepan, heat half of the heavy cream (1 cup), sugar, and salt.
- Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with a knife and scrape the seeds with a spoon.
- Put both seeds and pod in the pan.
- Stir the mixture over medium heat until sugar completely dissolves.
- Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract, the rest of the heavy cream (1 cup) and milk. Mix well. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours (or overnight) until completely cold.
- Pit cherries. By the way, a cherry pitter is a great investment if you have small children who love cherries or you enjoy making cherry desserts every year - it's super quick to pit cherries!
- Cut cherries into quarters.
- Take out the vanilla bean pod before churning. Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions (about 25 minutes).
- In the last 5 minutes add in the cherries. My ice cream maker bowl is 1.5 QT so I had to stop churning and add cherries. Combine ice cream and cherries well.
- Put the ice cream in an airtight container and let it firm by freezing it for several hours.