Sour Cherry & Dark Chocolate Sorbets


The 4th of July has come and gone once again in Chicago, but it seems that the heat is sticking around (quite literally, in fact). Mark and I hosted back-to-back BBQs over the holiday weekend, and with temps spiking into the 90s even at the lakefront, my goal was to plan both menus without the use of the stove…and I’m proud to say that I did it (not that I wasn’t sweating anyway, as I sliced, chopped and tossed veggies together).

My Beloved has now dubbed me the SlawMasterTM after my feats of slaw wizardry, whipping up no less than 4 different batches of slaw – a 3lb Bok Choy from the farm share will do that to you…but more on slaw later.

When the heat is beating you, my advice is to get out the ice cream maker and start churning. The bowl to our churn has a standing space in the freezer so that I can throw together a frozen confection anytime the mood strikes – which is often in summer berry season.

I tested the sour cherry sorbet out on some friends a couple of weeks ago, serving it with a healthy dollop of softly whipped cream, and even the nearly-four-year-old heartily approved of the sorbet, so I figured it was a winner. The sorbet dances on your tongue – the tart cherries giving you a pleasing little zing in the back of your jaw, without giving you a full on pucker. It tastes of fresh cherries with just a hint of vanilla – it’s a pure distillation of mid-summer.

I knew I’d be feeding a crowd this weekend, so I consulted my personal ice cream guru, David Lebovitz, for a second sorbet to pair with the cherry. David never fails me. This chocolate sorbet is dark and complex – very adult, without being heavy or cloyingly sweet and trust me – David’s chocolate sorbet is the perfect partner for sour cherries.

What’s your favorite frozen confection to take the edge off the summer heat? Share in the comments below…

Sour Cherry Sorbet
Serves 8

4 cups pitted sour cherries & their juice
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 T gran marnier or brandy (optional)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until mostly smooth. Chill thoroughly, then churn in your ice cream maker. It’s good to make this one a day before you plan to serve it – cherries have a lot of natural pectin, so it needs an overnight rest in the freezer for the sorbet to firm up so that it’s scoopable, rather than plop-able.
  2. UPDATE: Add a tablespoon or two of good quality aged balsamic to the base to add another layer of delicious mystery!

98 cal per 1/2 cup, 0 fat, 100mg potassium, 25g carb, 22g sugar

Bittersweet Chocolate Sorbet
from David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop

3/4 cup good-quality dutched cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups water
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
4 oz vegan dark chocolate chips
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 T coffee extract (optional)
2/3 cup fresh raspberries, frozen and broken into small pieces

  1. In a 1.5 qt pan, heat 1 1/2 cups of the water, the cocoa powder, sugar and salt, whisking often. Bring to a boil and whisk while it boils for 45 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips, whisking to incorporate. Add the remaining 3/4 cup water and vanilla, then chill thoroughly. Churn in your ice cream maker. After about 20 min of churning when the sorbet is nearly done, add the pieces of frozen raspberry. Store the finished sorbet in the freezer for a couple hours before serving so it will firm up a bit.

212 cal per 1/2 cup, 50cal from fat, 6g fat, 30mg sodium, 140mg potassium, 43g carbs, 5g fiber, 36g sugar, 3g protein


The above sorbets have been thoroughly tested and Aria Approved.

18 thoughts on “Sour Cherry & Dark Chocolate Sorbets

  1. Yum!!! I love ice cream/sorbet/sherbet/custard/gelato of any kind!!!

    You are familiar with Ohio – have you had Graeter’s ice cream? It’s a Cincinnati thing…I have to get me some when we go home for a visit. Be sure to try it if you haven’t…

    Ice cream is perfect for summer in Chicago. I know that heat and humidity. We lived there for almost nine years. Now we live in NM and endure the “dry” heat. Not much difference in my opinion. Heat is heat and the intense sun here kicks in instead of humidity. But it still demands ice cream!

    So, I really want an ice cream maker. I was looking at them again yesterday. I have been looking at the Cuisinart 1.75 qt model that runs around $50 for a starter model… Which one do you have – and do you like it?

    I like that the cherry sorbet above is lower in calories and fat. (Were those Michigan cherries? yummy!) I would like to be able to make lower fat items so that I can avoid the crap in the low fat ice creams at the store, but still enjoy a cold treat. And I like that both of these recipes are egg-free. I don’t do well with un-baked eggs.

  2. Oh yes, I am very familiar with Graeter’s ice cream – it was always the highlight of trips to see family in the summers – that and CEDAR POINT!! YEAH!

    Living in NM, I think you need to make it a priority to get an ice cream maker ASAP! I’ve got the cuisinart 1.5qt in Red, and I love it. It was about $50 and has been going strong, churning out ice cream weekly for a couple years…I had a different model before that, but it had a smaller pour spout and I made more than a few messes getting the ice cream base INTO the machine.😉

    Yep, the sorbets are very economical, calorie-wise – and really, the chocolate one isn’t so bad, either – the two scoop bowl above is probably only 150cal. That’s a VERY good treat!

    I don’t really worry about fat, to be honest. I just watch overall cals, and try to avoid the simple carbs. All of my ice creams are made with coconut milk instead of dairy and while they are high fat – it’s “good” fat, and the coconut milk doesn’t bother my stomach like milk does.

    Oh, and you can always go with making frozen fruit popsicles, too…I should probably start posting a few of those recipes as well. I love all things frozen in the summer!

    • Okay, I think I have my husband convinced I can get an ice cream maker. I think I am going for the 1.5 qt Cuisinart too…

      And you’re right, fat is important. Sometimes I worry too much about it.

      Thanks for the info!

      • Get the ice cream maker, you won’t be sorry! It’s so much fun to use in the summer when all the fruits are in season. I’ve got some peaches on the counter ripening up to be made into some kind of sorbet this week. Peach balsamic, maybe?

      • late to the party but if you haven’t gotten your ice cream maker yet, try Goodwill. I bought my Cuisinart one there for less than $10.

    • Leyla, *everyone* needs an ice cream maker. Trust me on this one. I’ve got at least 20 amazing ice cream recipes (many of them dairy free) on the index page for you to drool over. 😉

  3. I bought my ice cream maker!!! I got the Cuisinart 1.5qt. You have so many delicious recipes on your recipe page, I don’t know where to begin. But I keep going back to the Mexican Chocolate one…we’ll see. I have to write my grocery list tonight and go tomorrow, so I have to decide soon! I can’t wait!

    • HOORAY! Enjoy your ice cream maker! Oh, the Mexican Chocolate is an excellent place to start – I think that’s my husband’s favorite ice cream. I’m really becoming rather partial to the chocolate sorbet above – made another batch tonight – pureed 1.5c of raspberries with the 3/4 cup water then strained out the seeds, then blended it together with the hot cocoa mixture – WOW! Amazingly decadent, the raspberry flavor comes right through (with no offending seeds), and it’s SUPER creamy from the pectin in the raspberries. Winner!

      Can’t wait to see what you make first!

    • Get an ice cream maker and churn some up – you won’t be sorry. I’ve done some fabulous curry and cardamom coconut milk ice creams too.

      Aria is not my daughter, she’s our good friends’ daughter, and a frequent visitor – not to mention discriminating ice cream tester. She *adores* Mark so much that we jokingly call her “the other woman!” If Mark’s home when Aria comes over, I may as well not be there! 😉

      • My husband actually has an innate love for ice-cream so maybe that should be my gift to him this year.
        🙂 Its amazing how little girls somehow have this thing about them that makes you fall in love with them. Sighh… miss my niece so much!

    • I’m so sorry Mary Ann – my vanilla must be more mild than what you have…I just made this sorbet over the weekend and used a tablespoon. I will revise the recipe above. Thanks for the feedback!

  4. Jenn,

    Thanks for your response; sorry I was so militant in my comment! Now that the sorbet has chilled overnight in the freezer, the vanilla is somewhat less pronounced. So, even though I will tone down the vanilla considerably next time, your recipe is definitely a keeper that I will make again! Thanks . . .

    Mary Ann

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