Several weeks ago, I took a trip out to Michigan to visit a cherry farm, eat some cherries and create a my own ice cream flavor. It’s hard to say what the best part of the trip was, but as much as I love cherries, I would have to lean towards creating my own ice cream flavor – Apricot & Dulce De Leche Swirl, which you can vote on to become the next Private Selection ice cream flavor – might have been the most fun. All those cherries I got to sample were on their way to becoming Michigan Cherry Cobbler ice cream, a flavor inspired by the state of Michigan. After I got home, I couldn’t resist playing around with ice cream a little bit more to come up with my own cherry cobbler ice cream recipe.
My Homemade Cherry Cobbler Ice Cream is a vanilla ice cream that is packed with cherries and a buttery almond crumble topping. The “real” cobbler topping is a little on the soft side, and this crispy nut crumble holds up very well to being incorporated into ice cream and keeps its texture very well in the freezer. The ice cream flavor that inspired this is made with a cherry ice cream. I prefer to start with a vanilla base, partly because I like vanilla ice cream on my cherry cobbler and partly because I like the way the cherries “pop” against the vanilla.
I used homemade vanilla ice cream, but you can easily do this with storebought vanilla ice cream to dress it up a little bit. Always start with a high quality brand that you get a good vanilla flavor from. You can use fresh, pitted cherries or jarred cherres (in juice), but avoid cherries in syrup because they will add too much sweetness and bleed into the ice cream. The topping recipe makes a big batch and you will only need part of it for the ice cream. Save the rest for topping (because who doesn’t like extra crumble?) or store it in an airtight container for the next batch.
Homemade Cherry Cobbler Ice Cream
1 1/2 quarts vanilla ice cream (homemade or storebought), slightly softened
1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 – 2 cups Almond Crumble Topping (recipe below)
In a large, freezer-safe container, place a large scoop of the ice cream. Top with a layer of cherries and a generous layer of almond crumble. Repeat this layering process until all the cherries and crumble have been incorporated into the ice cream. The layers will provide an even distribution of the mix-ins when scooping the ice cream to serve.
Freeze ice cream until firm, at least 1-2 hours, before serving.
Almond Crumble Topping
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into several pieces.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine all dry ingredients in the food processor and whizz until almonds are completely broken up into almond meal and the mixture is well-combined. Add in butter and pulse until mixture is sandy and no pieces of butter larger than a pea remain.
Transfer mixture to a large bowl. If you squeeze the mixture firmly in your hand, it should stick together in one large piece of crumble, which can be broken down into slightly smaller crumbles ranging from the size of a pea to the size of a walnut. Do this with the whole mixture to break it up into crumbles.
Transfer almond crumbles to the prepared baking sheets (it is fine if some of the crumbles break up).
Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the pans and stirring slightly with a spatula every 5 minutes, until the crumble is light golden and crispy. When completely cooled, crumble can be stored for several days in an airtight container.
Makes about 4 cups.