Cherry Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Making ice cream does require a bit of planning - you need to freeze the canister for your ice cream machine, the custard must be thoroughly chilled before freezing, and the cherries need time to macerate a bit.
Recipe type: Frozen Delights - Ice cream
  • Sweet cherries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vodka or cherry liqueur [optional]
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1 whole vanilla bean [about 6 inches long]
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  1. First, pit and coarsely chop sweet cherries, until you have a heaping cup. I try to mix them up a bit as far as ripeness, for some flavor contrast, avoiding any that are soft or over-ripe. Mix in 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, plus the vodka or liqueur, if you are using it, and set in the fridge. The alcohol is not for flavor, so much as it is to keep the cherries from freezing rock hard. The sugar helps some with this, and the alcohol, though miniscule in any single serving will be present, as it does not get cooked out at all, so leave it out it out if you prefer.
  2. Put the half and half in a roomy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, and scrape down the insides to get out all of the seeds. Add the seeds and the pods to the cream, and bring it up to slow boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until very thick and a bit pale in color.
  4. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the cream, and measure out about a cup of the cream. Very gradually, beat this cup of cream into the eggs, and sugar, whisking constantly. Then, add that back to the rest of the cream in the saucepan, whisking all the while. [trust me, this sounds much more complicated than it actually is - the keys are not to rush it, and to keep whisking] Bring the mixture back up to a slow simmer, continuing to whisk it, and cook until it coats the back of a spoon. This means that when you dip a spoon in the mixture, and run a finger across the back of it, a well defined line remains.
  5. Strain the custard base, cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface, and chill completely. Once chilled, assemble your ice cream machine. Put the chopped cherries in the freezer to chill further - I do this right before I get the ice cream churning. You want the fruit to be very cold but not frozen, so the half hour it takes to churn the ice cream is perfect. Then, follow your ice cream maker's instruction for adding the ice cream base, and churning. Add the cherries during the last 5 minutes of processing, to ensure they are evenly distributed. Remove the ice cream from the machine and place in a freezer safe container. Cover the surface with plactic wrap, and then cover tightly. Allow to ripen for several hours before serving.
Recipe by The Creekside Cook at