Poached cherries with vanilla and ice-cream

Serves: 4
  • 600g fresh cherries, with stones in
  • 100g sugar
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds removed
  • Ice-cream:
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 100g sugar
  • 300ml milk
  • 150ml double cream

Each week, when I put in my orders with my suppliers, I ask my daughters if there is anything they would like. They enjoy asking me for produce that is out of season to test my reaction. Their favourite is asking for cherries and peaches in darkest winter.

Cherries are about to arrive in the shops any day now and instead of eating them all in one go, give this impressive dessert a try.

If you don’t have an ice cream machine and find making it by hand a hassle hunt down a good brand in the shops.

1. Take a saucepan that is large enough to accommodate the the cherries, add the water and sugar and bring slowly to the boil. Add the split vanilla pod and all the seeds.

2. Add the cherries and simmer until they are nice and soft but not bursting. Allow to cool and store until needed.

3. Make the ice cream by whisking the egg yolks together with the sugar. Bring the milk to the boil with the split vanilla pod and all the seeds then pour it slowly over the top of the egg yolks.

4. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and cook it over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a spoon. If this process makes you fearful, cook the custard in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water.

5. Strain the mixture through a sieve, allow it to cool completely, then add the cream and mix well.

6. Churn in an ice-cream machine or freeze, stirring frequently, until needed.

7. To serve, gently reheat the cherries and divide them, along with the cooking liquor, between four plates and place a large ball of the ice-cream in the centre. Serve at once and enjoy the contrast of the warm cherries with the cold ice cream.