Ever wonder what four pounds of freshly picked cherries look like?

Not that you need all of them for this recipe, but they sure do look pretty–even patriotic–in my star basket! Ah, Cherry, Cherry…you’ve got the way to move me to make as many cherry treats as possible during the limited, two-weekend timeframe that is cherry pickin’ season in the Land of Steady Habits.

Persistence paid off, as did a height advantage, when we hit Belltown Orchards in South Glastonbury early Saturday morning.

Having a partner in pickin’ helped fill the bucket quickly, too. Thanks, Ma!

By now you know my pickin’ always leads to the kitchen, so let’s see what kinda deliciousness we can stir up with these cherries.


½ cup almonds, toasted
2 cups sweet Bing cherries, pitted
1.5 cups whole milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons mascarpone
1 tablespoon amaretto
½ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon salt

Toast nuts in a frying pan over medium high heat, shaking/stirring regularly till they are golden and fragrant–about 5 or 6 minutes. Let them cool about 5 minutes, then buzz ‘em up in a food processor till they form a paste.

Add almond paste to milk and heat on medium to  medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, till small bubbles form at edge of pan. Remove from heat.

Beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk till smooth. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding to hot milk, whisking constantly.

Cook over medium-high heat and continue to whisk until mixture reaches 160 degrees F and custard coats the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil!

Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl. When you do, you’ll notice you’ve left some ground nuts behind. Scan for and remove any eggy bits, then add the nutty part back to the gelato. Whisk in the mascarpone.

Meanwhile, since you already have the food processor out, why not use it to chop the cherries for you? Once chopped, add the almond extract and amaretto to the fruit.

Stir in cherry mixture and salt to the custard.

Let cool to room temperature. You can make an ice bath to speed up the process. Chill custard in the fridge overnight or at least four hours.

Just before turning the chilled custard into your ice cream maker, place the custard and the dasher from your machine into the freezer for up to 10 minutes. Now, commence the spin cycle: process according to your ice cream machine’s directions.

Happy Birthday, America! Cherry cheers to you and yours this 4th of July!