Cherry Chunk Ice Cream

5 oz cream
5 oz whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
3 oz egg yolks (from between 3-5 eggs, depending on size)
3 oz sugar
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 c water
1 1/2 c halved and pitted sweet cherries
1/4 c crunchy granola

Combine the milk, cream and vanilla bean in a medium pot. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and cover the pot.  Allow to steep for one hour or up to 24 hours, storing the pot in the fridge if you plan to store for more than 4 hours.

After steeping, return the dairy to a simmer. When it is warmed, squeeze the juice out from the bean into the pot and set the bean aside to dry (I like to put them in my sugar).

While you wait for the dairy to come to a simmer, whisk together the yolks, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually add the simmering dairy to the yolk mixture, a ladle at a time, whisking constantly so that the eggs don't cook. After adding about half of the cream and when the egg mixture is warm, return it to the pot and drop the heat to medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the mixture has thickened, being sure to scrape the edges and the bottom to prevent curdling.

After it has thickened, shut off the heat and strain the custard through a sieve into a larger bowl. Press plastic wrap to the surface and refrigerate overnight.

After preparing the custard (or concurrently, if you like), combine the water and cornstarch in a small pot. When no lumps remain, add the cherries, cover the pot and cook on medium heat until the cherries are quite soft, stirring occasionally, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the top and reduce the liquid until quite thick. Cool and whisk into the chilled custard base.

When you are ready, process your custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Fold in the granola at the very end and freeze until solid.