• David Lebovitz’s Toasted Almond & Candied Cherry Ice Cream


The Perfect Scoop 

By David Lebovitz

Crack open a cherry or apricot pit and you’ll discover a soft kernel inside with the pronounced scent of bitter almonds. I took a cue from whatever higher power designed these two flavors together and paired cherries with almonds in one heavenly ice cream. Adding anything chocolate makes this ice cream amazingly good.

Be sure to drain the cherries in a strainer very well before folding them into the ice cream. They should be dry and sticky before you chop them up and mix them in.

David Lebovitz's Toasted Almond & Candied Cherry Ice Cream


  • 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 cups (270 g) whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup (200 g) well-drained Sour Cherries in Syrup (recipe below) or Candied Cherries, coarsely chopped

Sour Cherries in Syrup

  • 3 cups sour cherries from a jar, with their light syrup, about 1   1/2 pounds (675 g)
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar


Toasted Almond & Candied Cherry Ice Cream

Servings: Makes about 1  1/2 quarts (1  1/2 liters)

Warm the milk, sugar, salt, and 1 cup (250 ml) of the cream in a medium saucepan. Finely chop 1 cup (135 g) of the almonds and add them to the warm milk. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Strain the almond-infused milk into a separate medium saucepan. Press with a spatula or squeeze with your hands to extract as much flavor from the almonds as possible. Discard the almonds.

Rewarm the almond-infused milk. Pour the remaining 1 cup (250 ml) cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Stir in the almond extract and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add the remaining 1 cup (135 g) chopped almonds. When you remove the ice cream from the machine, fold in the chopped cherries.

Perfect Pairings: Try layering this ice cream with Fudge for Almond, Cherry, and Chocolate Ice Cream, or add Dark Chocolate Truffles or Stracciatella instead.

Sour Cherries in Syrup

If you’re as wild about sour cherries as I am, you’ll be as happy as I was to discover that big jars of them are available in Eastern European markets and specialty grocers. They come packed in light syrup and are a fraction of the cost of their pricey Italian counterparts, and they’re simple to candy yourself.

Once cooked and cooled, if you wish to mix the cherries into ice cream, drain them of their syrup completely (until they feel dry and sticky), and then fold them into your favorite flavor. I recommend White Chocolate Ice Cream, or try the Toasted Almond and Candied Cherry Ice Cream (recipe above). Or simply use one, or more, to top off an ice cream sundae. (Save any leftover syrup to mix with sparkling water to make homemade sour cherry soda.) This recipe calls for 3 cups of cherries, which includes their syrup.


Servings: Makes 2 cups (600 g)

Mix the cherries with their syrup and the sugar in a large, nonreactive saucepan. Fit the pan with a candy thermometer and cook over medium heat, stirring infrequently, until the syrup reaches 230°F (110°C). Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Serve a few cherries with their thick, ruby-colored syrup over ice cream.

Storage: These cherries can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving.

Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Lebovitz, copyright © 2007. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House.

Photo credit: Lara Hata © 2007

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