It’s surprisingly hard to find cherry ice cream without eggs, colors, stabilizers, and artificial flavors in the grocery store. I like the recipe below because you still get a pretty pink color, but you aren’t adding any artificial things to the ice cream. If you are lucky enough to get cherries in a light syrup, you can use that to replace the cherry juice and sugar (I use Trader Joe’s Morello cherries in light syrup).
Variation: In Step 5, when you add the cherries, also add toasted almond slivers and grated dark chocolate.
1.5 cups milk
1 tbsp corn starch
2 cups 100% cherry juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups cream
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cherries, seeds removed and cut into small pieces (it works better if you use cherries from a jar like Maraschino or Morello cherries)
1. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch into 1/4 cup of cold milk until it is all dissolved. Set this aside until the end of Step 2.
2. Mix the cherry juice and sugar together in a small saucepan. Heat on medium-high until the sugar is dissolved. Then, continue to boil until the liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup (it will become syrupy). Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the cornstarch-milk mixture. Return to the heat and continue to stir until the mixture thickens (2-3 minutes).
3. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining milk, cream, salt, and vanilla. Heat on medium-high until the mixture is almost at a boil. Stir continuously while it is over the heat so that it does not stick to the bottom. As soon as it looks like it is about to boil, remove it from the heat.
4. Mix the cherry-cornstarch-milk mixture and hot milk-cream mixture together. This is the ice cream base. Let the ice cream base cool, then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
5. Churn the chilled ice cream base in your ice cream maker according to the machine’s instructions. Approximately 5 minutes from when it is done, add the cherry pieces so that it gets churned into the ice cream.