Somewhere buried deep in the awkward corner cabinets of my kitchen is my ice cream maker. I am pretty positive that had big plans for it upon purchasing. Homemade ice cream readily available in my freezer? Yes, please. No more buying the additive-laden tubs at the grocery store. Woo hoo!
I quickly realized my dreams were a little overly ambitious [shocker] when I learned about all the prep work that goes into a well-made ice cream. Rarely do I have the forethought to freeze a bowl a day in advance and temper the custard mix several hours in advance to allow for cooling time. Sure, there will always be a time for making it this way, but this was not one of those times. Lately I've seen several no-churn ice cream recipes promising a rich and creamy texture and no ice cream makers needed. This must be in my repertoire, I thought.
I'm late to the sweet cherry season party, but ever since I came home with the first bag of crimson beauties, I've been dreaming up ways to use them, in dessert or otherwise. Meanwhile, our inventory keeps dwindling...my husband is a bit of a cherry enthusiast, having worked for the Oregon State University organic cherry farming project during our stint in Oregon. Oh how I miss those giant yellow crates brimming with those nameless yet delicious cherries.
Drawing inspiration from the cherries, my love affair with pistachio ice cream, and Food52's recent article on Nigella Lawson's no-churn coffee ice cream, I got to work. My first attempt was a bit of a bust, texture wise. It turned out rather icy, and I believe this to be due to all the liquid from the cherries. After reading this article by David Lebovitz, I realized that the introduction of alcohol can really help keep the ice cream soft, since alcohol doesn't freeze....of course, this wouldn't necessarily help me with the cherries. Most fruit flavored ice cream recipes call for the fruit to be cooked down, which is probably the best idea, but I really wanted to keep this recipe somewhat quick, with no additional time needed for cooling down mixtures. I also didn't want that "jam" taste but rather little bits of the fresh fruit. I wondered what would happen if I removed most of the water content of the cherries by wringing them out and letting them absorb a little booze instead. I was pleased with the results. The ice cream stayed rich and creamy with little pockets bursting with bourbon-cherry sweetness, and I assume the residual alcohol helped keep the ice cream soft.
We ate this as is, but I imagine it would be amazing topped with coconut flakes or even drizzled chocolate. Enjoy!
Bourbon-Soaked Cherry and Pistachio No-Churn Ice Cream
Yield: about 2 pints
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and quartered
1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and very roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. Kentucky bourbon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
- Put the sweetened condensed milk in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large metal bowl if using beaters) and place the whole bowl in the freezer to chill a little.
- Use a clean, old kitchen towel or cheesecloth and place the cherries in the middle of the towel. Wrap up the towel to make a pocket for the cherries, and squeeze out the excess liquid from the cherries. It took me about 20 squeezes, give or take.
- Place the cherries and bourbon in a plastic storage bag and press out the air. Let sit for at least an hour, while you prepare everything else.
- Take the bowl from the freezer and set in the stand mixer. Affix the whisk attachment.
- Turn on low and add both the vanilla and almond extracts.
- With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Once all the cream is incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed until very soft peaks form. Turn the mixer off and remove the bowl.
- Use a flexible spatula to gently fold in the bourbon-soaked cherries and pistachios, being careful not to include the fine, grainy "dust" from the pistachios.
- Pour mixture in a metal loaf pan, wrap with wax paper, then aluminum foil, and place in freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Serve straight from the loaf pan.
- This will keep for about one week in the freezer (remember, there are no preservatives).
- If bourbon isn't your thing, try using Amaretto, Kirsch, or Grand Marnier.
- It's important not to include the pistachio "dust" from chopping, as this will lead to a grainy texture.