I stare into the empty vacuum, it's a soulless void, a black hole that holds nothing. Happiness is non-existent and it looks sad. Yes, that's what's inside an empty cone, when I look into it. While cleaning out one of the cupboards in the kitchen and I found a few cones sitting sadly, all forgotten. They needed a soul in the form of something sweet and frozen. To fill this empty cone, I made ice cream over the weekend. A thick and creamy ice cream with streaks of sweet and tart red cherry sauce embedded in a white, creamy soft frozen bed of labneh ice cream.
On it's own, creme kefir/labneh (labne) is very tasty. Smooth, creamy with the tanginess of yogurt and a velvet texture to go along with every loaded spoon, that's the best way I think I can describe it! Combine this with the sweet and tart flavor profile of cherries and it's an ice cream that I want to eat all summer long. Cones or no cones! With cherry season in full swing, you might want to take advantage of all the fresh fruit that's available for the next few weeks (I really hate that it's a short season) but for those times when you can't find fresh cherries this recipe can be still be made if you can find the frozen ones at the store.
I have some exciting news to share with you, I'm a contributor at Team Yogurt and if you like yogurt and are looking for fun and new interesting ways to incorporate it into your diet, head over to my friend Cheryl's site for a whole collection of recipes from some very amazing and talented people. You'll be pleasantly happy to see recipes from all over the world that you can try out at home that are easy to prepare and tasty to eat!
Here are some of kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this ice cream;
- It is critical to have everything chilled when adding the acidic labneh kefir to the ice cream base. Otherwise things can curdle. Move quickly once it is added and pour it into the prepared frozen canister of your ice cream maker.
- After you add the cornstarch slurry to the ice cream base you can pass the ice cream base through a strainer to remove any clumps.
- Frozen cherries will save you a lot of extra time and hassle. But you can use fresh seasonal cherries too, just remember to chill the sauce before folding it into the ice cream base.
- Kirsch helps to amplify the cherry flavor in the ice cream but it also helps prevent ice crystal formation during freezing.
- The sauce I use in this ice cream is very simple to make and doesn't require any cooking.
Some other desserts you might be interested in;
cherry labneh kefir ice cream
yields: around 2.5 pints
3 cups whole milk + 3 tablespoons
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup fine grain sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons kirsch
12 ounces cherries frozen or fresh, pits and stems removed
4 tablespoons honey
8 ounces creme kefir (labneh/labne)
1/2 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips (I used 54%)
1. Place the 3 cups milk, heavy cream and sugar in a thick-bottomed deep saucepan. Heat the contents of the saucepan on medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Stir occasionally with a silicone spatula to dissolve the sugar.
2. While the milk is boiling, quickly make a slurry of the cornstarch with the 3 tablespoons milk. Quickly whisk this slurry into the boiling milk and allow to boil with constant stirring until the mixture thickens for around 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the stove and transfer to a clean gallon ziplock bag and chill completely in an ice-water bath for 35 minutes.
3. While the ice cream base is chilling, place the labneh kefir in a large mixing bowl. Whisk it for 30 seconds and then pour in 1/2 cup of the chilled ice cream base along with the vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of kirsch. Whisk to combine. Then slowly whisk the mixture in the bowl until it is smooth and combined evenly while pouring the chilled ice cream base in a thin steady stream. Pour the entire chilled mixture into the prepare frozen canister of your ice cream maker. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to churn the ice cream.
4. In the meantime prepare the cherry sauce. Place the frozen cherries (note if you use fresh cherries, then prepare this sauce and pre-chill for at least 1 hour before folding it into the ice cream base) in a blender. Add the remaining kirsch and honey. Pulse until combined (about 30 seconds, three times). Remove and transfer the sauce. Keep chilled until ready to use.
5. Transfer half of the ice cream into an airtight freezer safe container. Pour half of the chilled cherry sauce over the ice cream and half of the chocolate chips. Repeat the layers with the remaining ice cream, cherry sauce and chocolate chips. Using a knife or spoon, stir the mixture to create swirls of cherry sauce and ice cream. Don't over-mix or you'll end up with a uniform pinkish ice cream. (the swirls make the texture more interesting, both visually and taste-wise). Keep in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to firm up before serving.