published Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Courters' Kitchen: Mother's recipe for maraschino cherry ice cream a favorite family dessert

Kelley Courter and her sister have fond memories of their mother’s Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream.
Kelley Courter and her sister have fond memories of their mother’s Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream.
Photo by Connor Choate /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


This monthly cooking series features husband and wife team Barry and Kelley Courter.

BARRY SAYS: The recent passing of Kelley's father triggered a good deal of fond memories in the family recently. With Mother's Day coming up, we started talking about what to prepare this month. Kelley and her sister, Ginger, came up with the perfect idea of making the one dish that most made them think of their mother, Judy. This was no easy task as "Granny" could cook. And bake. And fry. Her red velvet cake was a work of art, and I've yet to eat a better biscuit than those she made.

KELLEY SAYS: This has been a very difficult time for my sister and me. With both Mother's Day and Father's Day approaching, I will be going back to many memories. Some of the best, though, always include the family meals.

Yes, my Mom was a fabulous cook. We always had the staples at each meal, whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner. There was always bread and a pot of beans. You may ask yourself how did you live off that, but that's what you had during the week.

Sundays were a different story. She would add a meat dish that day and, in the summertime, fresh vegetables from our garden. We always had a garden. What didn't get used fresh was canned for winter use.

I could go on and on about stories, but Ginger and I want to talk about her cherry ice cream. This also was one of her specialties. I didn't know any other person's parent growing up who made this. Everyone else always did peach or strawberry, but not cherry. It was the best and still is.

My two oldest children had the privilege of experiencing many Granny meals. Jeff has mastered her biscuits and gravy, which I have yet to do, and Jenny said last week that she most remembers Granny having so much fun in the kitchen.

"She'd be dancing, and she'd turn around and say, 'This is going to be so good,' " she said.

As I was going through mom's collection of recipes, the ice cream was the very last in the box. I realized I had never actually made this before by myself. I remember helping crank the ice cream maker with Daddy, but I had never personally owned an ice cream maker all these years. So I borrowed Ginger's and made the ice cream Sunday.

The recipe is very simple and to the point. One of the reasons we haven't shared any dessert recipes is that I simply don't do them well. Still, I thought this recipe would be a cinch. I mixed all ingredients just as the recipe stated and placed the maker on the front porch. I remember that once the ice cream was ready, the mixer would sound like it was going to stop on its own.

Well, after about two hours, it was still going strong. I immediately called my sister and asked what I had done wrong. She asked all the right questions, and as I sat looking at this machine, I began to panic. What was going to be the backup plan? Then I said, "Ginger, there's pink stuff coming out the top."

Ginger politely told me, "Kelley, turn it off, it's done."

"But are you sure?"

"Yes, Kelley, stop the machine."

When I removed the cover, out spilled that creamy goodness I always remembered.

BARRY: To make the day complete, while the ice cream was making, we listened to Granny's well-worn vinyl copy of Elvis Presley's "Aloha From Hawaii" and played it through, pops and all.

Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 large can Carnation evaporated milk

1 pint whipping cream

3 large bottles cherries (cut 2 jars' worth into halves)

1/2 bottle of cherry juice

1 tablespoon vanilla

Whole milk

Mix contents in bowl, stirring as you go. Once sugar is dissolved, whip with whisk or fork for a minute or two. Pour contents into ice cream maker. Stir in milk to fill line. Follow directions on your ice cream maker.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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