Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the weather has finally gotten hot. That means ice cream season of course, but cherries are in high season also. They have a short season, but are abundant in markets everywhere right now… sweet and juicy, and looking beautiful! I love to eat them plain, but then I get flashbacks of when I used to eat Ben & Jerry’s “Cherry Garcia” ice cream.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream was (and I guess still is) so popular with their unique combinations of flavors, such as “Chunky Monkey”, “Chubby Hubby” and “Mint Chocolate Cookie”, with a lot of nuts and chocolate… mmmm. I wasn’t so crazy about some of the others, with over-mixed flavors and too many ingredients. But I loved “Cherry Garcia” …maybe because I love cherries and dark chocolate. It’s a simple but great combination, which I always thought was a brilliant idea. Needless to say, it was often in my freezer.

However, as with Häagen-Dazs ice cream (I also once loved their “Rum Raisin”), Yoplait yogurt, and other brands that got so popular and then were bought out by big food corporations, the taste faded out quickly and, sadly, I had to find new sweet addictions.

Now those original tastes/flavors have become legendary, and I am grateful that I could experience and love them… like favorite old girl friends. To get that flavor/experience back, I now make my own. 

Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice Cream
Recipe adapted from Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book (1987), by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
Makes about 1 quart (4 cups)
1/3 cup dark chocolate (bitter or semi-sweet) chopped into small pieces
1/3 cup Bing cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 large, very fresh eggs or 4 egg yolks*
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
  1. Place chopped chocolate and cherries into different bowls and place bowls in the refrigerator. You want to keep all ingredients cold.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk the eggs until light and fluffy. Whisk in the sugar a little at a time, and then continue whisking until completely blended.  Add milk and heavy cream and whisk to blend thoroughly. Place the mixture in the refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours.
  3. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn/freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions, about 15 -20 minutes.
  4. When the ice cream stiffens, and about 2 minutes before it is done, add the chocolate and cherries, then continue freezing until the ice cream is ready. Transfer to a container and chill at least 2 hours.

*Note: For best results, make a custard first (instead of step 2):Mix the sugar and milk in a small saucepan and heat slowly over medium-low heat. Before it gets to boiling stage, remove it from heat, add egg yolks and whisk well. Bring back to the stovetop and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and whisk in the heavy cream. Chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours. Continue at step 3.


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