When sweet cherries are in season, it's time to make homemade ice cream! This recipe gets an extra flavor boost from a simple-to-make fresh cherry sauce that combines cherry-flavored brandy and cherry jam.
Combine the cherries and sugar in a medium saucepan and let rest at room temperature for an hour to allow juices to form. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the jam and the brandy. Cool and then chill in the refrigerator until the mixture is completely cold.
Place the half and half in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Whisk the yolks with the sugar in a large bowl, blending well. Gradually whisk the hot half and half into the yolks. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the custard thickens, stirring constantly. If you have an instant-read thermometer, cook the custard until it reaches 170 degrees F. Don' let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble.
Remove the pan from the heat and strain the custard into a clean bowl through a fine mesh sieve. Add the heavy cream and the vanilla, stir to combine, and refrigerate the ice cream base until thoroughly chilled.
Using an ice cream maker, process the custard base until almost firm, according to manufacturer's instructions. Add the reserved cherry sauce and continue processing until the ice cream is firm.
Transfer to a container, press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the ice cream, cover, and freeze until hard.