Honestly, this was intended to be a Gelato, (which is Italian for ice cream, and originated in Sicily, Egypt, and ancient Rome. It is a soft ice cream consisting of egg yolks, milk, cream, sugar, and a fresh fruit or nut puree.) The key here is soft! To make a true Gelato, the base shouldn't freeze hard because of the special process in which less air is churned into the base, (which mine did- thanks to the fact that I don't possess a "Gelato machine"!) My machine is rather ancient- by today's high tech standards! So, I am therefore considering this a traditional American-style ice cream for that reason. Also, I intended to have "ribbons" of ganache streamed through at the end, (I happened to have some leftover on hand), but due to my machine, it ended up becoming a chocolate flavor instead! (There is no way to open machine while running....ugh!) Nevertheless, this is a lovely combination of the fresh, sweet black cherries, rich mascarpone cheese, and hint of chocolate and vanilla. Perfect end to a beautiful summer day!
Yield: about a 1/2 gallon
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean (split down the middle)
1/2 cup (half container) Mascarpone cheese
2 cups chopped & pitted black cherries
**Optional: 1 cup melted dark chocolate chips or ganache
1) In a bowl, combine the yolks and sugar and beat until frothy. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, and vanilla bean. Heat until foam begins to form at edges, and remove.
2) Gradually pour a little bit of the hot cream into the egg yolks- whisking constantly. (This is called tempering.) When all of the cream mixture has been added to the yolks, return to pan, and cook over medium/low heat stirring constantly, until mixture coats the back of the spoon. (Watch carefully- as you don't want to curdle or scramble the eggs!!) Remove from heat, and whisk in the Mascarpone carefully. (Add the cup of melted chocolate if you desire the chocolate flavor at this time.)
3) Strain the mixture through a sieve or fine strainer into a bowl. Scrape beans from inside the vanilla bean into cream base and combine. (Discard bean.) Cover and chill several hours or overnight.
4) Prior to adding to the machine, add in the cherries. Follow the instructions of your machine, pour the mixture in and freeze! ***If adding ribbons of chocolate, make sure you have a machine that allows you to pour while freezing. If not, stream in and fold by hand prior to transferring to the sealed container that you will place in freezer. Freeze mixture until firm.