Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream Sundaes with Bourbon Whipped Cream and Toasted Pecans

I am a farmers’ market over-buyer. Especially at the fruit stand. Giddy as each fruit comes into season and makes its first appearance, I end up with far more blackberries/raspberries/apricots/etc than can be consumed by our family before going bad. Yet, I do it EVERY WEEK.

If I don’t end up freezing the bounty, I look for creative ways to use it. This week will likely be the last for Michigan cherries at the market, so I plan to make my rich and creamy Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream. The roasted cherries from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook work perfectly here—roasting intensifies the cherry flavor and creates a thick, delicious, not-cloyingly-sweet syrup that layers into the chocolate ice cream beautifully.

I considered poaching the cherries in bourbon when I first created this recipe (who doesn’t love fishing the Luxardo from their Old Fashioned and devouring it?), but decided to make a bourbon whipped cream instead. Toasted pecans are a delightful finishing touch, lending rich, salty, buttery, crunchy goodness to the sundae.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker or have the time to make ice cream, you can buy a good quality chocolate ice cream and top it with the roasted cherries and syrup along with your bourbon whipped cream and pecans. It’s all good.

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream Sundaes with Bourbon Whipped Cream and Toasted Pecans

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream
makes 4 cups

• 2 cups heavy cream
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or chips
• 5 egg yolks
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups roasted cherries and syrup (recipe below)

  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside a gallon-sized Ziploc bag.
  2. Place first three ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until thoroughly melted. Turn off heat.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy.
  4. Slowly add 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate/cream mixture to the egg/sugar mixture, whisking as you go.
  5. Stir this mixture back into the saucepan, stir in vanilla and salt, and heat on low until thick and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  6. Pour mixture into Ziploc bag and seal completely. place bag in bowl of ice water and leave until chilled completely (about half an hour), adding ice if necessary.
  7. Pour mixture into frozen bowl of ice cream maker and churn until super thick.
  8. Spread one-third of ice cream mixture into your 1-quart container. Add half of cherries and syrup. Spread next third of ice cream into the container, and top with the second half of cherries and syrup. Spread last third ice cream on top and freeze, covered, 5 hours or overnight.
  9. Assemble your sundaes: Place a generous scoop of ice cream in each dish, top with copious amounts of whipped cream, and sprinkle with plenty of warm toasted pecans.

Roasted Cherries
from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, makes 1 1/2 cups

• 2 cups pitted fresh cherries
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Stir all ingredients together in a 9 x 9 in square baking dish.
  3. Roast for 30-45 minutes until juices are thick, stirring every 15 minutes (it took mine just over 30 min).
  4. Let cool and refrigerate until cold.

Bourbon Whipped Cream
• 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
• 1/4 cup superfine sugar
• 3 tablespoons bourbon
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Place cold cream in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on medium-high until cream begins to thicken. Slowly pour in sugar, whisking until soft and fluffy. Add bourbon and vanilla, whisking to incorporate.

Toasted Pecans
• 1 cup pecans
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Place roughly chopped pecans in a non-stick skillet with the salt over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until nuts are warm, fragrant and toasted.
  2. Assemble your sundaes: Place a generous scoop of ice cream in each dish, top with whipped cream, and sprinkle with warm, toasted nuts.

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