Cherries Jubilee with Butter Crunch Ice Cream

For our thirteenth birthday, my parents surprised my twin brother, Allen, and me with a trip to New York City. Being country kids, we were thrilled at the dizzying excitement of the big city. We hailed our first cabs, saw the Empire State Building, and marveled at the life-sized stuffed animals at FAO Schwartz. Among our many firsts in New York was our first fine-dining experience; I can still see the brilliant cut-crystal glasses, the shimmering chandeliers, the elegant silverware, and the white linen tablecloths. My brother ordered cherries jubilee because he wanted to see the fruit on fire as they flambéed the cherries tableside. In grave tones, the waiter informed him that the sauce contained alcohol and was not served to minors. My father stepped in and Allen was able to live out his dream. I think cherries jubilee is even dreamier with a scoop of butter crunch ice cream.

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Ingredients

Butter Crunch Ice Cream

  • 3 cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • cup plus ¾ cup sugar
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup (1 ounce) walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Cherries

  • pounds fresh Bing cherries
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 6 tablespoons kirsch
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Large pinch of kosher salt
  • ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter

Method

To Make the Ice Cream

Cook the cream, milk, the cup sugar, and the salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until almost simmering. Pour into a clean bowl and cool over an ice bath until room temperature. Stir in the vanilla extract. Refrigerate for 4 hours or up to overnight.

While the cream is in the refrigerator, prepare the butter crunch: Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ¾ cup sugar and stir together. It will be very grainy. Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture becomes golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir until the butter is mostly incorporated and the sugar is no longer grainy. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the nuts, and then spread the mixture in the prepared pan. Let harden at room temperature, about 15 minutes. Drop the pan on the counter to coarsely break up the butter crunch. Chop medium fine in a food processor. Put the butter crunch in a medium bowl and put the bowl in the freezer.

Churn the vanilla ice cream base in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fold the ice cream into the butter crunch. Freeze until scoopable, about 4 hours, depending on your freezer.

To Make the Cherries

Stem and pit the cherries. In a large sauté pan, stir together the cherries, orange juice, kirsch, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes until the liquid is hot. Flambé the liquid by carefully touching a lighted long match to the liquid. The alcohol will catch on fire, burn for a minute, and then go out. (If you need to extinguish the flame, place a lid on top of the pan.) Add the butter and continue to cook for about 2 minutes, gently shaking the pan until the butter has melted.

In Advance

The cherries can be pitted several hours in advance. They should be cooked just before serving.

To Serve

Scoop some ice cream into each of 6 bowls. Spoon some cherries and sauce over the ice cream. Serve immediately.

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