Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips

Every year about this time, I’m invited to pick Bing cherries at our next door neighbor Pat’s yard. Pat picks all she can freeze and eat for the year, and anything left is for friends or the birds. There is something truly glorious about standing in the shade of a cherry tree ripe with cherries, and picking them and eating them right there on the spot. As kids we would have pit spitting contests to see how far we could make them fly. Do kids even do this any more? They’ve already bred the seeds out of watermelons, I sure hope they don’t breed the pits out of cherries. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t mind working for my food, pits, seeds and all.

To make cherry ice cream, you do have to pit some cherries. Takes about 10 minutes with a paring knife, though I hear it’s a lot faster with a cherry pitter. This recipe calls for regular sweet cherries, which are milder in flavor than their sour cherry cousins, but easier to come by. Because of the mildness, this ice cream benefits from the addition of chocolate, and some berry liqueur.

Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips Recipe

  • Yield: Makes about one quart.

You can also try making this ice cream with yogurt instead of cream. Heat the cherries, sugar, salt, and milk first. Then let cool. Add 1 3/4 cup of full-fat yogurt and purée. Everything else is the same except no need to add lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups pitted ripe sweet cherries (from about 3/4 lb cherries)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cups cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp Amaretto, cherry liqueur, or rum (optional)
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine, keep in freezer until used

Method

1 Put cherries, milk, one cup of the cream, sugar, and salt into a medium saucepan. Heat on medium heat until the mixture is steamy, then lower the heat to warm and just let sit for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour mixture into a blender, or use an immersion blender, and carefully purée. (Careful because you are dealing with a hot liquid. Make sure you hold the cap down on the top of the blender while puréeing.)

2 Put mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the remaining 3/4 cup of cream. Chill for several hours in the refrigerator until completely cold. (Can also place bowl over an ice bath, to speed up the cooling process.)

3 Before putting the mixture into your ice cream maker, stir in the lemon juice and the Amaretto or other liqueur if you are using. Note that you can skip the alcohol if you want, but the addition of it will help the ice cream from getting too icy, and the amaretto can add a nice flavor boost to the ice cream. Churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

4 Once the ice cream has completed churning, the ice cream should be pretty soft. Gently fold in the finely chopped chocolate. Put in an airtight container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several hours.

Links:

How to make ice cream without a machine - from David Lebovitz
Cherry ice cream - from Sunshine and Smile
Homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker from my friend Simon at SciToys.
Sour cherry sorbet from Cafe Fernando
Cuisinart 1-1/2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker for sale at Amazon.com

20 Comments

  1. Gezzius

    This looks as delicious as ever…

    I recently bought some grapes from a local market and they looked really succulent and tasty. When I finally bit into one, I found it had seeds in. I was in total surprise as I am relatively young and eating grapes with seeds in ‘em is not even a part of my consciousness anymore!!! It’s quite disturbing when you think about it.

    Kids of the future will be so hidden from reality! Scary.

  2. Mike

    Now there’s a coincidence–I just made a batch of cherry frozen yogurt with chocolate chunks (like stracciatella) last night! Although I’m definitely jealous that you have backyard kind of access to cherries–seems a lot more fun than driving to the grocery store. I really like the color you got on your ice cream though–mine took on more of a Pepto Bismol look, which isn’t quite as exciting a dessert color, lol (hopefully I’m the only one eating it who makes the Pepto observation). ;-)

  3. Adrienne

    Well, now I have to buy an ice cream maker. I’ve been reading amazing ice cream recipes for the last several weeks, but this one is putting me over the edge. Do you have a model you recommend?

    The one I use is the Cuisinart 1-1/2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker. ~Elise

  4. Joanna

    Oh, I have such fond memories of cherry picking as a kid! We didn’t have any neighbors with trees, but the whole family would don matching red t-shirts and drive half an hour upstate in NY to a cherry tree orchard. I loved climbing trees and probably spent more time navigating the top branches than I did actually picking cherries, but my parents picked up the slack and we always got home with a few giant bags’ worth of fruit. Yum! I don’t think they ever got turned into anything as good as this ice cream looks, though…

  5. live2cook

    Wow! I will surely try this recipe. To make me happy, it is Egg free! Yay!

    I will replace the liquer with arrowroot powder as they say the latter prevents ice crystals forming in Ice creams too.

  6. Nancy

    Delicious! Cherries are my favorite fruit, partly because they are the only supermarket fruit that is not uniformly sour. I even love the name Cherry for a little girl, but my husband just rolls his eyes at that ….

  7. Stephen

    Hi Elise! How about Bing cherries preserved in port to use as a warm topping for ice cream. 2 cups port, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon zest in shreds, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon fresh, coarse ground black pepper, 1 pound Bing cherries– You don’t have to pit them!!! Combine the port, sugar, zest, lemon juice and pepper in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cook unitl reduced by half. Reduce heat to low and stir in the cherries. Cook and stir for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to place the cherries in two 1-pint canning jars already sterilized. Then bring the syrup to a boil and pour over the cherries nearly to the jar rims. Cool and refrigerate for several weeks–if they last that long!

    Hi Stephen, what a delicious idea, thank you! ~Elise

  8. brilynn

    My grandparents have a cherry orchard and every year of my life I’ve worked picking cherries in the summer and I absolutely love them, I can’t wait until they come into season and I can make this ice cream!

  9. Eeshani

    Elise, this looks incredibly good! I don’t own an ice-cream maker, but this recipe makes me want to buy one asap! Any suggestions on what to look for? Thanks :).

    BTW, have you ever tried Nigella Lawson’s no-churn margarita ice-cream? I made some recently– its quite good (think frozen key lime pie), although I bet not as good as this one!

  10. Carrie

    Oh, Elise! That. looks. so. good. Beautiful photo. We’ve never met, but I wish I could be a guest in your kitchen fairly often. Thanks for all the ideas. My husband’s so happy and well-fed.

  11. April

    In our family, the adults STILL spit the pits!!! And the kids get in the action too :) Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  12. Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

    This looks incredible. I have been experimenting with homemade ice cream and it has been so much fun. I can’t have dairy right now, so I have been using coconut milk (which works wonderfully). I may have to branch out and try this in a dairy free form. :-)

    Kimi @ thenourishinggourmet.com

  13. Susan from Food Blogga

    Your mom has boysenberries and your neighbor has cherries. I want to come live with you!

    That is the most lovely color ice cream. I can only imagine how refreshing it was.

  14. Adrienne

    Elise, thanks for the recommendation! I bought that ice cream maker from Amazon and made this cherry ice cream. Delicious! I’m going to try a custard base (vanilla, I think) this afternoon :)

  15. Latha

    Dear Elise,

    I bought a local brand ice-cream machine (German). It says the ice-cream is best soon after churned in the machine. What do I do if i want to freeze for couple of days’ use? Should I churn everytime before having the ice-cream or just straight from the freezer? I have some lovely cherries waiting to be consumed… pls. help!

    Hi Latha, Ice cream straight from the machine is wonderful and soft. If you like soft ice cream, eat it then. Otherwise, scoop it out of the machine and put it into a container and freeze. It will firm up in the freezer. ~Elise

  16. Latha

    Hi Elise,

    This is a wonderful recipe. First time I’m making ice-cream and I’m very impressed:) I tried half with yogurt and half with cream. I think I prefer the latter:) Tomorrow I plan to try out the strawberry frozen yogurt. I have no doubt it’d be a success as well. Thanks for your clean recipes…

    PS: I had to strain to remove the cherry skins. How did you manage a fine puree?

    I just kept the blender going until everything was well puréed. ~Elise

  17. Danielle Goewert

    Just made this ice cream:) I love it so. This is my favorite ice cream and to make it at home tops it off. Thanks for the wonderful recipe, making another batch tomorrow

  18. Sanda

    I just stumbled across this recipe of yours and decided to give it a try. It was fabulous! So, thank you for posting it (some three years ago)!

  19. Denise

    Hi,just made the mix for this ice cream. I’m About to pour it into ice cream maker..Is it really 2 tablespoons of amaretto or cherry liquor or 2 teaspoons? I made a double batch and am afraid to add 4 tablespoons.thanks.

    Tablespoons, not teaspoons. ~Elise

  20. ML Chan

    Just made today. It turned out amazing. I would have put some alcohol if the kids weren’t eating it. Definitely an easy recipe.

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