Cheery Cherry Ice Cream

12 ounces cherries, pitted and quartered
1 cup sugar
2 ½ cups milk
6 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon Kirsch
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Combine the cherries and ¼ cup of the sugar in a small pot and let macerate, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until soft and juicy. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender. Chill over an ice bath until ice-cold.

 

Meanwhile, bring the milk to a bare simmer in a small, heavy saucepan. Whisk together the yolks and remaining ¾ cup of sugar in a large bowl. Continue whisking while adding the hot milk in a thin stream. Place the bowl with the yolk mixture over a medium pan of simmering water, and heat, whisking constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Immediately strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl and whisk in the cream, Kirsch, and almond extract. Chill over an ice bath until ice-cold. Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn until frozen. With the motor running, add the cherry mixture in a thin stream. Transfer to a container and freeze for 4 to 6 hours before serving.

Makes about 2 quarts. If your ice cream maker doesn't have an opening for adding mix-ins, transfer 1/3 of the ice cream to a container, drizzle with ½ of the cherry mixture, and repeat layering with the remaining ice cream and cherries.  For the best texture, enjoy within a day or two of churning.

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