ice cream for the birthday girl

Complimentary truffles from DiLido Beach Club, Ritz Carlton South Beach

Complimentary truffles from the DiLido Beach Club

Last week was Erica’s birthday, but since it fell on a busy Monday, the family had a celebratory dinner Sunday night instead. As per the birthday girl’s request, we had chili-rubbed ribeyes with sweet corn and saffron mashed potatoes and a big salad. Papi also prepared some refreshing marlin ceviche, which he served with avocado and sweet potato cubes, as is customary in Peru. It was an all-around delicious meal!

But what would a birthday dinner be without a decadent dessert? 24 years of life deserve a special treat, and Erica and I spent the entire week leading up to her birthday tossing around ideas for the perfect birthday dessert. We quickly agreed that warm cake or cookie with ice cream would be the way to go, but it wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that we settled on the winning combination: warm Ghirardelli brownies (the only mix we ever use, and swear by) with homemade cherry ice cream with chocolate chunks.

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I spent Saturday night staining my fingers deep magenta as I pitted close to a pound of fresh cherries. The ice cream base was extremely easy to make, requiring no eggs and a quick whirr through the blender. Many ice cream recipes call for the addition of alcohol, because since the alcohol doesn’t freeze, the ice cream retains a softer texture. I used a combination of Frangelico (hazlenut) and Chambord (raspberry) liquors and together they provided a sweet and nutty background for the tart cherries. Although I believe that when it comes to chocolate, the darker the better, Erica is a milk girl, so for this occasion, I folded in some milk chocolate chips at the end.

The brownies, fresh out of the oven, were topped with scoops of the whimsy pink ice cream and sprinkled with crunchy toasted salted almond slivers. The humble quart I made disappeared as our sweet-toothed family members lined up for servings. It had been a while since I last made ice cream, but last night reminded me of how easy and popular of a summertime dessert this is. I can’t wait to experiment with some more fruits and flavors in the near future.

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I’m glad I was able to make Erica’s birthday that much sweeter. Happy Birthday, sista!

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