Recipe: Sour Cherry-Almond Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks

Dessert Recipes from The Kitchn

I think we can all agree there's no way we could get through summer without ice cream. Or in my case, I couldn't get through one week, let alone the three hottest months of the year. So, here's a sweet treat to cool you down: a chocolate-cherry ice cream that's tinted just the tiniest hint of pink.

I've mentioned my love of chocolate and cherries together before, so it didn't take a lot of imagination to come up with this recipe.

I borrowed a tip from David Lebovitz, whose Toasted Almond and Candied Cherry Ice Cream (from his book, The Perfect Scoop) I've made before. I bought a jar of sour cherries and boiled them down with some sugar to make sweet-tart cherries in syrup. They are a great addition to this ice cream, which is a similar but much simpler version, thanks to our tried-and-true eggless method.

Tester's Notes

Like Elizabeth, I have a soft spot for cherries and chocolate. And I really have a soft spot for ice cream. So I was certain I was going to love this ice cream the second I started making it. Somehow it managed to exceed my expectations.

The one thing I'll do differently next time I make this ice cream (which will likely be next week) is handling the chocolate differently. Instead of chopping it into rough pieces, I think it would be nice to grate it into the ice cream for a smoother texture.

- Kelli, June 2015

Sour Cherry-Almond Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks

Makes 1 quart

For the cherries:
1 24-ounce jar sour cherries (in juice)
1/2 cup sugar

For the ice cream:
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 1/2 cups half-and-half
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

To make the cherries: Combine the sugar and cherries, with their juice, in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat slightly and simmer for about 30 minutes. The liquid will reduce a bit but won't thicken considerably. Cool to room temperature. Then drain the cherries, reserving the liquid in a bowl. Roughly chop the cherries.

To make the ice cream: In the bottom of a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese until loose. Set aside. Prepare an ice bath in a larger bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of the half and half, making sure the cornstarch is dissolved. Pour the rest of the half and half into a large pot and whisk in the sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then simmer, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return the pot to medium-high heat, bring back to a boil, and cook for 1 more minute, stirring or whisking constantly, until the mixture is slightly thickened.

Pour the milk mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese and whisk until the cream cheese is combined. Add the salt, almond extract, and 1/4 cup of the reserved, sweetened cherry liquid. Set the bowl into the ice bath and cool, stirring every few minutes, until the liquid is thoroughly chilled. This should take about 25 to 30 minutes. It's even better if you can refrigerate it for several hours or overnight, but it should freeze fine after the ice bath if it's completely cool.

Freeze in an ice cream maker, adding the cherries and chocolate at the very end or stirring them in after you stop the machine. Transfer the ice cream to a container and freeze for at least 6 hours until firm.

Recipe Notes:

  • Save the rest of the cherry liquid; it's good drizzled over plain vanilla ice cream or even over yogurt.

This recipe has been updated — first published February 2009.

(Image credits: Kelli Dunn)

Per serving, based on 6 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
544
Fat
24.6 g (37.8%)
Saturated
14.9 g (74.4%)
Carbs
81.4 g (27.1%)
Fiber
3.5 g (14.1%)
Sugars
74.3 g
Protein
6.6 g (13.2%)
Cholesterol
60 mg (20%)
Sodium
138.3 mg (5.8%)