the base is essentially like if ice cream and frozen yogurt got together and had an adorable and tasty child. actually, it's more like frozen custard + frozen yogurt, because eggs. the important thing, though, is that it has the soft creaminess of ice cream and a little (but not too much) of the tangy-ness of frozen yogurt together in one delicious spoonful. then you gild the lily by adding lots of cherries and (meta!) chopped up yogurt-covered pretzels. the sweetness, saltiness, and crunch may just make this your new summer favorite.
there are a few different steps to this, but none are difficult or really that time-consuming. the main thing is that once you make the base and the cherries, you have to let them chill for a good long time - preferably overnight. so it's something to plan ahead for. but the anticipation just makes it better.
i got the notion for the base for this from a recent rhubarb ice cream recipe in the ny times. i actually first used the base in a rhubarb-blackberry crumble ice cream, which was delicious but for which i forgot to make any note of amounts of things, so i can't really tell you how to make it. maybe i should revisit that soon.
although that recipe was sort of an inspiration, the main thing i took away from it was the use of sour cream. but i never have sour cream lying around, so i used yogurt. if you've never made ice cream with a custard base (i.e., using egg yolks to thicken it), it might be somewhat intimidating. but it's really not hard. first, separate 4 eggs so they're ready to go (here's a video) - put the yolks into a bowl big enough to hold at least 3 cups. you can save the whites for something else (pavlova?!). then heat 1 cup each of milk and heavy cream with 3/4 cup sugar (in a saucepan over medium heat). stir it pretty diligently. once it's hot and the sugar has dissolved (you'll see steam, but you don't want it to boil), add it verrrry slowly to the yolks while whisking them heartily. this tempers the eggs so they don't scramble. basically i usually start with pouring it in a very thin stream for at least the first half of the milk/cream mixture, then going a little faster once the eggs are a bit heated. you can certainly find videos of this if it doesn't make sense. once everything's mixed, put it back in the pan and let it cook, stirring assiduously but not too speedily. as the custard (look! you just made a custard!) cooks, it will thicken up. most recipes say it's done when it coats the back of a spoon. here's what it looked like when i took it off the heat:
pour it through a strainer into a largish bowl. you don't absolutely have to use a strainer, but it's nice just in case there are a couple of bits of egg that have congealed. then just add a cup of greek yogurt and a teaspoon or so of vanilla, mix it up, and put it in the fridge for at least 3 or 4 hours and preferably overnight. it needs to be nice and cold before you freeze it.
you can also go ahead and make the cherries now. they need to chill, too, so you might as well get it over with. i used this recipe by david lebovitz. it was easy and worked a treat, although they didn't get as candied-y as i was expecting them to. but they are simple if you use frozen cherries and only a little less so if you use fresh and have to pit them. i am no great fan of pitting cherries (which is why i usually just eat fresh ones or use them in something like clafoutis, where they don't have to be pitted), but this was worth it. though i think frozen would be just as good. so yeah, make those and put them in the fridge.
now it's the next day and you can finally make ice cream! first, chop up ~ 3/4 cup (~ 7 ounces) of the cherries and drain them over a bowl or something (the juice is good, but you don't want it in the ice cream) for at least an hour. it would be good to do it in the fridge if you can, so they are cold. ice cream is sometimes temperamental and it's best if all of the components are cold.
then just freeze the base in whatever ice cream maker you have according to the directions. in my kitchenaid bowl thingy it took about 15 or 20 minutes. while it's going, chop up about a cup or so (~ 5 ounces) of yogurt-covered pretzels. you don't have to be super-obsessive in chopping them - just get them roughly in bite-sized pieces.
when the ice cream's cold, use a sturdy utensil to mix in the pretzels and cherries, then pack it all in some airtight containers and freeze for a couple of hours. you can also eat it right away - it'll be almost soft-serve-y. you might want to make it to bring to a party or something, though, because otherwise you will want to eat. it. all.
ice cream base
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 cup full fat greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cherries (by david lebovitz)
1 pound cherries
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
~ 5 ounces yogurt-covered pretzels (maybe you could use regular pretzels, but yogurt ones are where it's at)
listening to: this insane and hilarious mix of songs sent in as demos in the 90s. also a preview of grizzly bear's upcoming album. and santigold. always santigold.