• Chocolate Pistachio Cherry Ice Cream

    September 8, 2017

    We have been sitting under a haze of forest fire smoke here in Portland with a fine coating of ash covering everything.We have it better off than most in our corner of Oregon but our beloved Columbia Gorge is burning. Rain would be a welcome antidote but that’s not in our near future. Poor air quality means lot of a/c and lots of indoor time. So, in these waning days of summer (it is still summer), I tackled my dream ice cream. My antidote to the low, gray skies and heat. Enjoy!

    I have long wanted to make my own ice cream and fill it with all the fix-in’s I like, but I put it off, assuming I needed an ice cream maker in order to make an ice cream to rival Ben and Jerry’s. I was wrong! I should have remembered my sister’s delicious attempt at homemade ice cream when we were young. I recall condensed milk, a baking tray and lots of m&ms. So, this recipe is a combination of Alton Brown’s chocolate ice cream and Food & Wine’s Mad Genius Tips column. Below is the result of that talented marriage.

    I took a fair amount of time nursing the custard to make sure it was hot enough (wait until your thermometer hits the 170-175° mark) and thick enough, without overcooking. The add-ins are rough amounts, I tend to like my ice cream with lots of texture.

    Last year, I was cooking up Fried Squash Blossoms.

    Chocolate Pistachio Cherry Ice Cream

    Makes 1 1/2 quarts


    1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
    3 cups half-and-half
    1 cup heavy cream
    8 large egg yolks
    9 oz sugar
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup chocolate chips
    1 cup salted pistachios
    1 cup dried cherries

    1. In a medium saucepan, combine cocoa and 1 cup of the half-and-half, whisk to combine. Add remaining 2 cups of half-and-half and the cream. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stir occasionally. Remove from heat.
    2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks until they become pale. Gradually add in sugar, whisking to combine.
    3. Temper the cream mixture into the egg/sugar mixture by adding small amounts of the warm cream mixture to the eggs. After you have added about 1/3 of the cream mixture, combine both mixtures and return to the saucepan. Place over low heat.
    4. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170-175° on a candy thermometer. This can take 15 minutes or more.
    5. Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl and let sit and cool for 30 minutes. Add vanilla.
    6. Pour the mixture into a large, resealable freezer bag. Place the bag inside a tall pitcher or other cylindrical container to make it easier to pour the liquid into the bag. Lay the bag flat in the freezer. Freeze until firm, about 8 hours or overnight.
    7. Transfer the frozen custard to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse at 5-second intervals until smooth. Work in batches. Transfer the custard to a 9-inch by 4-inch metal bread pan or a non-stick bundt pan, and fold in pistachios, cherries and chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 6 hours or overnight.


    • Customize your flavor with almonds, coconut flakes, mint extract, walnuts, etc.
    • Salted pistachios add a nice salty flavor to the sweet chocolate, use unsalted if that is unappealing.
    • I used a non-stick bundt pan which worked well for folding in extras and the ice cream scooped out nicely when I moved it to containers.

      Layering in the goodies