Thursday, September 1, 2011

Prairie Cherry & Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

My friends own & operate Over the Hill Orchards, a certified organic fruit farm near Lumsden, Saskatchewan. They grow all types of fruit, but they are famous for their Prairie Cherries, which they make into chocolates, juice, baked goods, and other wonderful treats!  We had the chance to tour their orchard in August, and my kids loved picking cherries from the trees and popping them into their mouths, so I went to the Farmers Market the following week and bought a pint.  There were a couple handfuls left, so I decided to whip up a batch of ice cream and toss in the prairie cherries and some chopped dark chocolate.

2 c. coffee cream (18%)
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. whipping cream (35%) (original recipe called for 1 c. whipping cream, but I used half whipping cream and half milk)
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
approx. 1 c. cherries (after they are pitted & quartered, you should end up with about 1/3 c.)
approx. 8 small squares of dark chocolate,chopped (about 1/4 c.)

Combine first 5 ingredients and refrigerate for a few hours.  Pour into ice cream maker and churn for 15 minutes.  Once it looks fairly thick, gradually add cherries and chocolate 1 tbsp. at a time.  (You can add more or less of the cherries and chocolate - the measurements I gave are just an estimate at how much I put in.)  Continue churning until well mixed and thick.  Pour into a container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
This ice cream was awesome.  Make sure you chop the cherries quite small, otherwise you get a strange texture when you bite into a frozen one.  But otherwise, this was a perfect vanilla base and you could add whatever you like to it - but I highly recommend Prairie Cherries and dark chocolate!!
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