In a medium saucepan over medium low heat combine the milk and heavy cream. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the milk mixture and then add the empty pod to it, too. Simmer it all over low heat for 30 minutes, then remove and discard the bean pod.
In a mixing bowl beat together the sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, eggs and egg yolk until thick. Measure about 1 cup of the hot milk/cream mixture and, with the mixer on low, add in a thin stream to the egg/sugar mixture, mixing thoroughly. Stir the chocolate chips to the hot milk/cream that remains in the pan and once the chips have mostly melted, add the egg/sugar mixture to it. Cook over low hear stirring constantly until it thickens and looks like chocolate pudding. Remove to a heatproof bowl, cool ever so slightly and then cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface (so that a skin does not form on the top). refrigerate until completely chilled, 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
Spoon the chocolate mixture into the ice cream maker (it won’t pour if it’s thoroughly chilled) and mix until thickened, about 30 minutes. It may be served immediately or further firmed in the freezer until ready to serve. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
I never did find the sour cherries, but I did get a boatload of sweet cherries and made two kinds of sauces. The whole cherry sauce I served over ice cream (vanilla or peach), on pound cake, and on lemon yogurt; the puree I used to offset the sweetness of a Blueberry Mascarpone tart.
4 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
3/4 cup water
2/3 cup sugar (taste the berries and adjust accordingly)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons cognac (optional)
Combine everything in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil and let it boil for 5- 10 minutes. Let it cool completely. For the whole cherry sauce just cover it and refrigerate until ready to use (it has more flavor at room temperature). Keeps in the refrigerator for about a week.
For a smooth cherry sauce, puree the sauce in a Cuisinart until there are no chunks of cherry at all. It will still not be totally smooth. Strain the sauce with a fine mesh strainer – then it will be smooth, and a beautiful shade of red. Keeps in the refrigerator for about a week, and freezes beautifully.
Another member of our family is now gluten free so I need to diversify my desserts. Cambridge, Massachusetts ice cream purveyor Toscaninni’s makes a Burnt Caramel Ice Cream I used to get when I worked at MIT in the 1990s. Now the local Whole Foods carries it and it is just as good as I remember, and when I found a caramel ice cream recipe I thought I would try and replicate the burnt version at home by cooking it longer and adding some sea salt. It worked! I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker.
1 1/4 cups organic sugar
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon coast sea salt (flaked is even better)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
In a dry 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat, heat 1 cup of the sugar, stirring to assuring even heating. Once it starts to melt swirl the pan over teh ehat until all of the sugar is melted and it turns a deep amber color. Carefully add 1 1/4 cups of the cream (careful – it can splatter) and stir until all of the caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and add the salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
Once the caramel is cool, in a small saucepan bring the milk, the remaining cream (1 cup), adn the remaining sugar (1/4 cup) jsut to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a medium bowl then add half of the hot milk and sugar mixture in a thin stream, whisking continuously. Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat and stir with a wooden sppon until the custart coats the back of the sppon adn registers 170 ndegrees on an instant read or candy thermometer. Do not let it boil. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl, then stir in the cooled dark caramel.
Chill the custard in the refrigerator, strring now and then, until completely cool – 4 to 6 hours. Our it into the prepared ice cream maker and mix it according to the manufacturer’s instructions, about 25-30 minutes. It will still be quite soft when it is finished, and is delicious as a cold custard, or you can transfer it to an airtight container(s) and firm it up further in the freezer.
Serve it on its own or with bittersweet chocolate sauce and/or whipped cream.