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Valentine Sweets: Balsamic Black Cherry Gelato

cherry ice cream

My desert island food is ice cream. But with age has come a bit of snobbery – the varieties I ate happily as a kid just don’t do it for me anymore. I’m (sadly) almost off store-bought ice cream altogether, except for the tiny, pricey tubs of high-end stuff, spoiled by my ice cream machine. I’m not a gadgety person, but I must recommend one to all ice cream fans out there. There’s just nothing like homemade – and it’s cheaper than even the cheap stuff available at the supermarket.

This dense gelato has a complex balance of black sweet cherry and aged balsamic vinegar. Made with milk, it’s lower in fat than most ice creams – typical of a gelato.

If you’re looking for something seductively sweet but not over-the-top chocolate, give this a try. To be consumed in bed – one bowl, two spoons. Adults only.

Balsamic Black Cherry Gelato

Recipe courtesy of the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers.

4 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 cups homogenized milk
4 cups Ontario sweet black cherries
2 Tbsp good quality aged balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp vanilla

In bowl, whisk together yolks with sugar until thickened and pale. Set aside.

In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to simmer, stirring often. Whisk about 1/2 cup of the milk into the egg mixture and then whisk it back into the milk in the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 8 minutes.If you like, strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Let cool.

Purée 2 cups of the cherries and their juices in a food processor or blender until smooth. Stir cherry purée, cherries, balsamic and vanilla into milk mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight and up to 1 day.

Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, freeze mixer in a large stainless steel bowl. After 4 hours, transfer to food processor and blend again. Freeze completely.

Makes about 4 cups (1 L).

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