Cherry Limeade Ice Cream

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What can I say about summer that hasn’t already been said?

Do I even need to?  I’m not sure.  I do know that every blogger who’s ever posted a chocolate chip recipe has probably wondered–what else is there to say?  All we really do, subtly, is tell you: “Make x because it’s in season.”  ”Make y because it’s healthy.”  ”Make z because it’ll impress your friends.

Sometimes there’s no need for any of that.  No one needs to be told that chocolate chip cookies are delicious, or that summer is a special time.  It’s not even my favorite season, but I appreciate it, and I love it.  Maybe it’s so commonly understood to be special because the joy of getting out of school for three months when we were kids?  Mind.  Blowing.  We felt like we won the lottery, thank you very much–every 12 months.

I don’t think that feeling leaves as we age.  We don’t get to sleep in M-F anymore and spend entire days lazing about in a backyard, reading Jack Kerouac and listening to Sonic Youth on our Walkman (yes, I was as insufferable a teenager as I sound).

But, the pleasure associated with those memories always stays, and every time we glance out the window at 8:30 and see it’s still light outside, consciously or not, we remember the last of the truly carefree times we had.

All this rambling, only to tell you about the time I wanted to make ice cream that tastes like cherry limeade (and did).

So, limes.

And bubbly, sugary berries.  I roasted, although you can definitely just cook these on the stovetop.  As long as they look soft, squishy and bubbly like this:

The rest is a pretty straightforward custard.  Milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks.  Custard pro tip, which isn’t at all a pro tip (in fact quite the opposite, as I clearly made this mistake): if you heat the custard too long and it curdles a bit, all’s not lost.  Just put it in the blender and blend until smooth.  Fixed!  See?

The lime zest can get caught and pile up on the edges of your churner thing.  You can strain the custard mixture beforehand to avoid this, or do as I did and just scrape it off and stir it back in.

Blend your cooled cherries, swirl together.  If you want.

Now, let’s go find our Walkman…  We have some good music to enjoy.  Nothing takes me back like this dreamy intro.  If coming in and out of a nap had a soundtrack, this would be it.  Yup.

Cherry Limeade Ice Cream
(adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod and Epicurious)

For cherry swirl:
2 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

For ice cream:
8 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
Zest of 6 limes
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice (more or less depending on the tartness you prefer)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and toss together cherries, sugar and cornstarch in a baking dish.  Roast for 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until thick and bubbly.  Allow mixture to cool, then transfer to fridge to chill completely.

In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to beat egg yolks, sugar and lime zest until pale yellow and creamy.  Set aside, and in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the milk and cream until hot and simmering, but not boiling.  Once the mixture is hot, slowly add 1-2 cups of it to the egg mixture by the 1/4-cupful, whisking after each addition to fully incorporate it.

Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk mixture.  Continue heating, stirring constantly, for another 5 minutes or so, until thickened.  The custard should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat, let it cool, and transfer to the fridge to chill completely, for at least a few hours.

Strain custard if you’d like, add the lime juice, then churn according to the ice cream maker’s directions.

Puree the cooled roasted cherries and their juices in a blender or food processor.  Alternating layers of ice cream and cherry puree, pour into a container and freeze until firm.  Makes about 1.5 quarts.

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8 Responses to Cherry Limeade Ice Cream

  1. Hmmm. This looks delicious, but we don’t have an ice cream maker. I wonder if there is a way to do it without. . . . I’ll have to investigate. Summer is not my favorite season of all either, but I do love it, for all the reasons you outlined above – and because the kids are free of schedules and homework. What IS your favorite season? I think mine is fall. . . .

    • Yeah, people make ice cream without ice cream makers all the time! I’m not sure how, though.

      I think my favorite season is either spring or fall. I like transition!

  2. This is food blog. Seeing an innovative recipe for cherry lime-ade ice cream was quite a treat. But Sonic Youth? Positively delicious! GREG

    • Greg! I love your blog and your guys’ podcast. Now I find out you like good music too? Um, awesome!

  3. This ice cream just screams Summer – I love it! You sold me with that first picture – yum!

  4. Even though it is fall and almost winter this ice cream looks amazing! Love the limeade idea.

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