Fresh cherries are in season right now and nothing beats using this seasonal ingredient in a tasty dessert! Especially when said dessert is homemade bourbon cherry cheesecake ice cream.
This recipe starts and ends with bourbon cherries. The ice cream base is rich with an ultra creamy texture. And the finished product is topped with graham cracker crumbs mixed with brown butter and brown sugar.
If you're looking for a cherry dessert, this bourbon cherry cheesecake ice cream is it! Looking for more cherry recipes? Try a batch of my No Bake Cherry Cheesecake bars.
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Homemade Ice Cream is the Best Ice Cream
Ice cream machines are relatively inexpensive and a worthwhile investment if you are a homebaker and/or you love ice cream.
And homemade ice cream is way better than anything you can find at the grocery store. It's made from simple ingredients, contains no preservatives, and/or anything you can't pronounce.
Unlike no-churn ice cream recipes which rely on sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream to create richness and texture, this ice cream gets its richness from egg yolks and cream cheese.
Don't be scared off by the fact that there are 6 yolks (yes, 6!) in this recipe. Save the egg whites in an airtight container in the fridge for your morning egg scramble or make some meringue!
The ice cream base for this recipe is based off of the NY Time Master Ice Cream recipe. The milk is omitted from the original recipe and cream cheese is added to create a rich, cheesecake-esque flavor that you will love.
Be aware that because of the eggs in this recipe, the ice cream base is cooked to eliminate any possibility of salmonella. Therefore, the ice cream base needs to be chilled thoroughly before churning it. This requires time.
The hardest part is waiting for the base to chill so you can churn then indulge in the finished ice cream!
Looking for more homemade ice cream recipes? Try Creamy Malted Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips and S'mores Ice Cream.
Cherry-Bourbon Ice Cream
One of the best things about this recipe is the bourbon cherry reduction. Cherry season is upon us, so use fresh cherries if they are available in your area. This will produce the best flavor for sure.
If cherries are not available or affordable in your area, simply substitute for frozen cherries.
If using fresh cherries, I highly recommend getting a cherry pitter. It's one of those kitchen gadgets that you may only use a few times a year, however, it makes the job of pitting cherries so much easier. PS it can also be used to pit olives.
To make the cherry reduction, add the whole, pitted cherries (or frozen cherries), a little sugar and the juice of a lemon to a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Let the cherries cook until thick and syrupy. The fruit will break down as it cooks, so no need to chop the cherries. You can smash them a bit with the back of a spoon if you want smaller pieces.
A great thing about this recipe is the bourbon. Add it in at the end of cooking the cherries - this is the perfect way to finish them off. You can, of course, omit the bourbon if you choose and let the sweet cherries shine through.
Topping it off
To top off this indulgent Cherry ice cream, graham crackers are mixed with brown sugar and melted butter that's browned to bring out a slight nuttiness. This creates a crunchy, delightful graham cracker crumble topping that you'll surely be eating by the spoonful.
Once the cream is churned, dollop in the bourbon cherries, swirl with a knife then freeze until firm. Top with graham cracker crumbles and extra bourbon cherry reduction, if desired, just prior to serving.
Can I substitute the fresh cherries in this recipe?
Yes! If fresh cherries are not available or affordable in your area, substitute with frozen cherries in equal amounts. I have not tried this recipe with canned cherry pie filling, but that could also work. Cherry jam is another good idea for substituting the fresh cherries.
FOR ALL MY FAVORITE BAKING TOOLS INCLUDING THOSE USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE, CHECK OUT MY BAKING RESOURCES PAGE!
Looking for more ice cream recipes? Give these a try:
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Bourbon Cherry Reduction
- 1 pound Bing cherries pitted
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large lemon juiced, strained for pits
- 2–3 tablespoons bourbon
Cheesecake Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 8 ounce cream cheese cut into small pieces, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Graham Cracker Crumble
- ⅓ stick unsalted butter
- 4 sheets graham cracker broken into small pieces
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar packed
- pinch of salt
Make Bourbon Cherry Reduction
- In a large saucepan, combine the first 3 ingredients. Bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat.
- Gently cook until the mixture is thick and syrupy, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon, then let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Make Cheesecake Ice Cream
- In a small pot, simmer cream, sugar and salt until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks.
- Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream.
- Return pot to medium-low heat, add vanilla, and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).
- Add in cream cheese pieces and whisk until smooth.
- Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, using a spatula to press mixture through sieve.
- Cool mixture to room temperature.
- Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Pour ½ ice cream into a loaf pan, add bourbon cherry reduction in dollops (I like to scoop them up with a fork, so most of the liquid remains and you just get those juicy, bourbon cherries), swirl with a butter knife; repeat with remaining ice cream and cherries.
- Place in freezer for at least 4 hours to firm up.
Make Graham Cracker Topping
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter 5-7 minutes till golden brown.
- Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix graham crackers, brown sugar, and salt.
- Add browned butter and mix until evenly coated.
- Allow to cool before using.
- Scoop ice cream and top with graham cracker crumble and extra bourbon cherry reduction, if desired.
- Store ice cream in freezer until needed, keeping graham cracker crumble stored separately in an airtight container in the fridge
- Store extra cherry reduction in a separate container in the fridge for up to 7 days
- Chilled ice cream base can be made up to 3 days ahead of time. Store in fridge until ready to churn
- Fresh cherries may be substituted for frozen cherries, cherry pie filling or cherry jam
- Ice Cream recipe adapted by NYTimes.com The Master Ice Cream Recipe