This icy cherry sorbet is spiked with vanilla bean, almond, and kirsch which gives a potent, vibrant cherry flavor. A good dose of honey provides sweetness to balance the cherries for a delicious, simple summertime dessert.
What's in it?
While a cherry sorbet needs only a few ingredients (namely cherries and a sweetener), the version below has a few extra ingredients that kick up the flavor. You'll find vanilla bean, almond extract and kirsch - a type of cherry liqueur that amplifies the flavor of northwest-grown sweet cherries.
Northwest sweet cherries are available in late June through the end of August. They have a remarkable sweetness, bright acidity and delicious flavor. Look for firm, dark-colored cherries with just a touch of tenderness.
Tips for making cherry sorbet
You'll begin first by simmering cherries with honey, vanilla bean, and cherry juice until they soften ever so slightly, and then you'll purée the base in a blender, chill it, and churn it using your ice cream maker. There's a few tips to make sure it comes out every time.
- Make sure the cherries are completely free from pits before you purée them in a blender.
- Adjust the sweetener, adding more honey if your cherries are tarter and slightly less if your cherries are very sweet.
- Skip the vanilla bean if your budget's tight, and use vanilla extract or additional almond extract instead.
- The alcohol in kirsch helps to keep your cherry sorbet smooth and easy to scoop.
- Strain the sorbet base if you prefer a smoother texture. We skip that step in the recipe below for a darker sorbet with a rich texture.
- Refrigerate your sorbet base for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
- Once it's churned, let it harden in the freezer at least 4 hours before serving.
Cherry Sorbet Recipe
Prepare the sorbet base.
- Drop the pitted cherries into a medium saucepan, and then pour in the cherry juice and honey. Add the split vanilla bean, and then bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- When the cherries soften, turn off the heat and let them cool to room temperature. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod into the cherries, and then discard the pod.
- Add the cherries and all their liquid to a food processor, and then add the kirsch and almond extract. Blend until smooth, and then transfer to the fridge until cold.
Make the sorbet.
- Pour the sorbet base into your ice cream maker, and then freeze according to the ice cream maker's manufacturer's directions. Transfer the sorbet into an freezer-safe container with a tight-fitting lid and store in the freezer at least 4 hours to stiffen. Use within 1 month.
Use Rainier cherries. They give you a lovely pale yellow to pink-colored sorbet with a light flavor.
Swap amaretto for kirsch. Amaretto is flavored with bitter almond, a flavor partners beautifully with sweet cherries.
Skip the kirsch entirely, and substitute additional cherry juice for an alcohol-free option.
Substitute other stone fruit, such as nectarines or plums, for some of the cherries.
Use homemade noyaux in place of the almond extract.
Your cherry sorbet will keep in the freezer for about 1 month.
Yes, you can substitute additional cherry juice for the alcohol; however, it may freeze harder and be less easy to scoop as a result.
If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can turn the sorbet base into a granita instead. Pour it into a 1 ½ quart freezer-safe container, and freeze for 30 minutes. Then break up any ice crystals with a fork, and freeze for another 30 minutes. Continue freezing, mixing, and freezing again at 30 minute intervals for 4 hours. Then serve.