1tbspcherry liqueur (also called Cherry Heering) or kirsch (cherry brandy)(optional, helps keep gelato at a softer texture even when fully frozen)
For the gelato base: Make the gelato base of your choice, then strain it into an airtight container. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. The gelato base must be very cold before churning: this will produce the smoothest, silkiest texture.
To make the cherry puree: Place the cherries, granulated sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until the cherries are soft and the mixture has thickened. Puree using a stand blender, a stick blender, or a food processor. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until completely cool.
Measure out 1 cup (250 ml) cherry puree. (Keep remaining puree, if any, to add to smoothies or serve over cake.)Pour ½ cup (125 ml) of the cherry puree into the gelato ustard base and whisk to thoroughly combine. Transfer the cherry custard to the bowl of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stop the machine when the gelato is icy but still soft.
To assemble the gelato: Spread a third of the frozen gelato over the bottom of an airtight container or a loaf pan. Drizzle a third of the remaining cherry puree, and sprinkle with a third of the diced cherries. Add another layer of gelato, then drizzle with another third of the cherry puree and a third of the diced cherries. Top with the remaining gelato, then drizzle the top with the remaining cherry puree and sprinkle with the remaining diced cherries.
STORAGE: If you used a loaf pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap, or cover if you used a container. Freeze the cherry ripple gelato until firm, at least 2 hours. Cherry ripple gelato is at its creamiest and best if enjoyed within 2 weeks. Past that, some ice crystals will inevitably start forming (especially if the gelato is kept in the freezer section of a regular fridge, as opposed to a chest freezer) and the texture won't be quite as smooth. The gelato will still be perfectly edible for up to 2 months, but my advice is: enjoy it as quickly as possible after churning.
SERVING: Always take cherry ripple gelato out to room temperature 20 minutes before serving to make it easier to scoop. This will also allow you to enjoy the treat at its ideal temperature and texture.
MAKE IT DAIRY FREE: When making the gelato base, substitute lactose-free milk or oat milk for the regular milk, and lactose-free heavy cream or soy cream for the regular heavy cream.