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Homemade black cherry ice cream is the perfect simple summer treat
Make an easy, but delicious summer dessert with this six ingredient homemade black cherry ice cream. The dark cherries provide a pop of color and natural sweetness in the ice cream. This recipe is made with an ice cream maker, and is perfect for the hot summer months.
One of my absolute favorite summer fruits are cherries! Despite all the work they can be, they're SO delicious! As soon as I started writing recipes for our all things ice cream series, I knew I had to include a cherry recipe!
While this recipe uses frozen black sweet cherries (so you can make it any time of the year), it would be just as delicious with fresh cherries in the summer. Trust me, you're going to want to make this to cool off during the summer!
If you're a true ice cream lover like me, don't forget to check out all the recipes that go along in our ice cream series.
What You'll Learn In This Recipe
I always love teaching you a few new tips and tricks with each recipe on my website. Today, you'll learn:
- How to make ice cream without eggs, and the secret ingredient you'll need to use instead
- Why stabilizers are an important part of ice cream
- How to substitute frozen cherries for fresh cherries
Black Cherry Ice Cream Video Tutorial
One of my favorite things about this ice cream is that you only need 6 ingredients. Each of these six ingredients serves an important role in the dark cherry ice cream:
Black Sweet Cherries: The cherries are the star of the show! You can use either fresh or frozen cherries. If you want even more cherry flavor, make a double batch of the black cherry mixture. You can use half as a topping to spoon over the finished ice cream.
Heavy Whipping Cream/Whole Milk: According to the U.S. guidelines, products labeled as 'ice cream' are required to contain at least 10% milkfat and 20% milk solids. These butterfat products help make up the ice cream we all know and love.
Granulated Sugar: Yes, sugar helps add sweetness to our ice cream. But, did you know that it also helps keep the ice cream soft? Sugar lowers the freezing point of water, which helps prevent the entire ice cream mixture from freezing during the churning process.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used as a stabilizer in this recipe (to replace eggs). Stabilizers are very common in ice cream because they help add thickness (viscosity) to the ice cream base, thus leading to less movement of the water molecules. This helps prevent the small ice crystals (created during the freezing process) from fusing together to form large crystals leading to an unpleasant, hard texture.
It also slows down the melting process, which is super helpful during the hot summer months!
Tools & Equpiment
Here are a few tools you'll need to make black cherry ice cream:
Ice Cream Maker: You'll need an ice cream machine to properly churn this ice cream. If you don't already have an ice cream maker, check out the full review of my favorite machines to decide which one is best for you!
Whisk: You'll need this to make sure the cornstarch is evenly distributed!
Recipe Frequently Asked Questions
Sure! No problem! Since they're not frozen, fresh cherries will cook down slightly faster. Just keep an eye on them. You'll know they're done once they've cooked down, are slightly softened, and a syrup has formed in the bottom of the sauce pan.
Also, make sure to remove the pit.
The short answer is no. Ice cream is made up of butterfat. If you change up the percentage of fat in the recipe, you will not get the correct creamy texture after the ice cream base has churned.
Make sure that the heat is set to medium, or even medium high. Cornstarch must reach about 203°F in order to gelatinize. If your heat isn't high enough, it might not be reaching the temperature it needs to thicken the mixture. You can always double check the temperature of the ice cream base with an instant read thermometer.
Also, make sure the cornstarch isn't clumped up. This would impede the mixture from evenly thickening. To avoid this, add the cornstarch in batches while continuously whisking.
Preferably in a shallow/long plastic storage container. Also, make sure to place the storage container in the back of the freezer (not the door). Avoid leaving the ice cream out of the freezer longer than you have to. The goal is to keep the ice cream at a stable (frozen) temperature.
Yes, it's really important that the ice cream base reaches around 40-42°F (4-5°C), so it will properly freeze in your ice cream maker. When the ice cream base is cold, it will encourage the growth of small ice crystals. Ice crystals play a huge role in achieving a smooth, creamy ice cream texture.
Black Cherry Ice Cream
- 2 cups frozen black sweet cherries pitted
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar divided
- 1 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon Morton kosher salt
- Add cherries, ¼ cup granulated sugar, and ¼ cup (60 ml) of water to a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cherries are softened and a syrup has formed in the bottom of the pan, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow cherries to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate for later.
- Fill a large bowl with ice to use later as an ice bath. Set aside.
- Add heavy whipping cream and whole milk to a heavy bottom pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it begins to steam, around 160°F (71°C).
- Meanwhile mix 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt with a fork until no lumps remain and everything is well incorporated.
- Once the cream and milk begin to steam, slowly add in sugar mixture in small batches, whisking continuously. Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for an additional 2-3 minutes until mixture has slightly thickened. You can check this by scooping a bit of the liquid up with a spoon and testing the thickness. Make sure the cream/milk mixture does not boil at any point.
- Transfer mixture to a heatproof bowl and cool in an ice bath until mixture has cooled and has stopped steaming. Press a piece of plastic wrap over the mixture to prevent a skin from forming on top. Chill the ice cream base until it reaches around 40-42°F (4-5°C), or up to overnight.
- Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process for about 20-25 minutes, or according to the manufacturer's directions. About two minutes before the ice cream is done churning, add cooked cherries and syrup a tablespoon at a time until well incorporated.
- The ice cream will be on the soft side but can be eaten right away or put into the freezer to "cure" or harden up for a couple of hours. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two weeks.
Other Recipes To Try
Looking for other ice cream recipes to try? Check these out:
- Peanut Butter Whiskey Milkshake
- Birthday Cake Ice Cream
- Orange Limoncello Sorbet
- Classic Vanilla Custard Style Ice Cream
- Moose Tracks Ice Cream
Don't forget to check out my Pinterest board for more popular ice cream recipe inspiration.