White Chocolate Ice Cream with Rainier Cherry Compote

White Chocolate Ice Cream with Rainier Cherry Compote
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You don't need an ice cream maker to prepare your own frozen treats at home. This rich dessert can simply be mixed up and frozen as-is, then served with a generous helping of flavorful Rainier cherry topping. Cherries and chocolate make a classic pairing, and that holds true for white chocolate as well. If you've never put them together before, this harmonious combination will make you a believer. The secret is to look for good quality white chocolate, with cocoa butter listed as one of the first few ingredients – some varieties of white chocolate substitute lower-cost fats for some or all of the cocoa butter, but it’s cocoa butter's distinctive richness that makes this recipe work.


  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 6 oz. good quality white chocolate
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ lbs. Rainier cherries
  • 2 Tbsp. Clear Creek Distillery Kirschwasser


  1. Whisk together the egg yolks with ½ cup of the sugar and the pinch of salt, until the yolks and sugar are well mixed. Heat the milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat burner until it reaches a low simmer (about 170°-180° F). Gently whisk the hot milk into the eggs in a thin stream, until it's thoroughly incorporated. Pour the mixture into back into the saucepan. Continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of your spoon or spatula.
  2. Chop or grate the chocolate into small pieces and place them in a mixing bowl. Set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl and pour in the hot custard, straining out any small fragments of cooked egg. Stir it until the white chocolate has melted completely. Set this mixture aside to cool for 10 minutes, stirring it occasionally.
  3. Whisk the whipping cream in a separate bowl until it's light and slightly thickened in appearance but not yet "whipped cream" (you should be able to see the track of the whisk in the surface of the cream). Fold the beaten cream into the white chocolate mixture until they're well combined. Then pour the custard into an airtight container and refrigerate it for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Pour the chilled custard base into your ice cream maker and churn it according to the manufacturer's instructions. When it's finished, its consistency will fall somewhere between regular and soft-serve ice cream. Transfer the ice cream to a shallow, airtight container and freeze it for at least another hour or two, or until firm.
  5. Rinse, stem and pit the cherries. Place them in a large saucepan (they'll foam as they cook, so use a high sided 5-6 quart pot) with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, and put the pan over a medium burner. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, as the cherries release their juices and soften. Once they've softened fully and collapsed, remove the saucepan from its burner and stir in the Kirschwasser. The cherry juice will seem thin and runny at this point, but will thicken as it cools. Refrigerate the compote until you're ready to serve the dessert.
  6. Scoop portions of the white chocolate ice cream into decorative cups or dessert dishes, and spoon the compote over and around it before serving. Freeze any leftovers.


If you don't have an ice cream maker, you'll need to make a couple of minor adjustments so it's still light and easy to scoop when you're done. First cool the custard all the way to room temperature before adding the cream, and then whip the heavy cream all the way to stiff peaks before folding it into the custard. At this point, you can simply pour it into an airtight container and freeze it; the added air from the whipped cream replaces the lightness you'd normally get from churning.

The custard should at least be chilled to refrigerator temperature before it's churned, otherwise it won't freeze quickly enough to have a good texture. Overnight refrigeration is even better, giving the smoothest possible ice cream.

If you have imported German Kirschwasser on hand, feel free to use that. Ordinary cherry brandy doesn't have as fine a flavor, so if you don't have Kirschwasser simply add a few drops of almond extract.

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