cherry buttermilk sherbet

I have been seeing homemade ice creams, sorbets, granitas and sherbets popping up on food blogs all summer long and it’s been driving me bonkers! I really, really wanted to make some ice cream but I also didn’t want to find all the ice cubes needed for my ancient-but-oh-so-beautiful turqouise ice cream maker. I wondered if it was possible to make ice cream without an ice cream maker? And then I remembered that last year I did make a Seville orange ice cream sans and it turned out just fine indeed.

It’s cherry season around here and I had some dark, sweet Bing cherries from the Okanagan just waiting to be used up…perfect for an icy treat. I also had buttermilk in the fridge and figured it would add the perfect amount of creamy tang to this sherbet. From the photo above, I obviously didn’t have a cherry pitter*, so I just used a knife to un-pit the cherries. They were going to be blended up so I wasn’t looking for intact-looking cherries. I just put on some loud music and got my pitting groove on!

Once you finish pitting, the hard part is over. The ingredients are easy enough to come by and the process is simple. I didn’t strain the liquid after blending which would have removed the cherry skin, but I actually liked the added texture of the itty-bitty nubbly bits. If you don’t, go ahead and strain the mixture before adding in the sugar. Now, the only thing you have to do is wait it out…and the wait can be a bit of a buzz-kill, especially when it’s really, really hot outside.

However, once the wait is over, scoop on in. The resulting sherbet is ripe and bursting with cherry flavour: it’s heady and gorgeous in taste and well, just look at the damn thing! It’s beautiful and it scoops like a dream. Enjoy this now while cherries are at their peak. I mean it, just do it.

* Uh, little did I know, I did have a cherry pitter. Cornelius brought it to my attention. He inherited it from his grandma and it sat unbeknownst to me in our drawer of strange kitchen things. Next time.

38 comments to “cherry buttermilk sherbet”

  1. 1
    Jess   July 27, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Oh my. I just almost licked my screen. I love the idea of using buttermilk. I bet that adds a lovely tang.

  2. 2
    stephchows   July 27, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    NO ice cream maker needed??? sign me up!!

  3. 3
    Rosiecat   July 27, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I LOVE cherry ice cream! And cheers to the joy of being able to make homemade ice cream without an ice cream machine. I made the honey semi-freddo from Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer (no churning required!), and it turned out beautifully. I didn't plan on keeping it as a stash of ice cream in the freezer, but that's what happened, and I don't regret it. Not one bit.

    By the way, if anyone decides to track down the semi-freddo recipe, be warned: it's VERY sweet, even without the extra honey drizzled on top at serving time. I think next time I'll cut the honey to 5 or 6 tbsp. total.

  4. 4
    tara   July 27, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    That photo of your knife and the cherries looks murderous … in the most delicious way. I agree with Jess, buttermilk sounds fantastic.

  5. 5
    vanessa/NessieNoodle   July 27, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Oh my gosh, thank you! our ice-cream maker is missing a part and we haven't had the time to get a new one or look for the missing piece.
    this is perfect.
    what a great color those cherries make!

  6. 6
    hag   July 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    YUMMM Cherry icecream! It looks so cool, and It is so hot, I want to jump right into the bowl!

  7. 7
    The Leftoverist   July 27, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Another wonderful recipe with beautiful photos. As I type, me and my kids are dripping sweat all over the place, and my son just retrieved 3 bags of frozen veggies from the freezer so we don't die of heat. We're typical Northwest wimps.

  8. 8
    bellcurves   July 27, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    Wow, looks fantastic. Cherry…yum.

  9. 9
    Shannalee   July 27, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    I don't even usually like cherries, and I want a big scoop of that RIGHT NOW. (And thank you.) Gorgeous, gorgeous color!

  10. 10
    Linda   July 27, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I literally bought an ice cream maker this weekend and made my first successful batch tonight (vanilla froyo)! However, I'm more impressed with your homemade efforts sans machine!

  11. 11
    Mari   July 28, 2009 at 2:55 am

    I heart cherries and buttermilk, so this must be exceedingly good. Oh, and bust out that cherry pitter, because they are fun to use!

  12. 12
    The Casual Baker   July 28, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Gah — I followed the link through to the photo of your turquoise ice cream maker and was surprised to see what looks like an exact replica of one I grew up with.

    We throw a little homemade ice cream making party every summer, and I'm thinking that cherry buttermilk sherbert should be one of this year's 2 options.

    With this heat wave in Vancouver, I'm almost wishing we had scheduled for this past weekend…

  13. 13
    CookiePie   July 28, 2009 at 7:26 am

    WOW – that looks so refreshingly fantastic. Cherries are my favorite summer fruit — bookmarking this yumminess now!

  14. 14
    Dana   July 28, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Can you believe the cherries we are getting this year? They are so incredible and so cheap. I have always loved them but not in desserts. But I know I would like this, just pure cherry flavor with a bit of tang. Perfect.

  15. 15
    kickpleat   July 28, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks Jess, it's a pretty perfect summer treat!

    Oh yeah, stephchows.

    Thanks for the tip, rosiecat!

    haha, very murderous, Tara!

    Vanessa, this is so easy…it's just the waiting that is hard.

    Hag, it's perfect! Jump on in.

    Thanks leftoverist! I'm also a huge weather wimp. Crazy heat.

    Thanks bellcurves.

    Shannalee, you don't like cherries?? Really?

    Linda, all ice cream is reason to celebrate.

    Mari, I tested out the cherry pitter this week and it was fun!

    Casual baker, yes, make it happen. I love ice cream parties!!

    Thanks cookiepie. It is indeed lovely & yummy!

    Corie, let me know if you do. I think it would work fine with frozen cherries. Just defrost them first and save the liquid to use in place of the pomegranate cherry juice.

    Dana, I know, they are so cheap and readily available, it's great.

  16. 16
    Corie   July 28, 2009 at 8:37 am

    That sherbet looks incredible! I'm having a housewarming this weekend, and think I might have to make it.

    One question – do you think it would work with frozen cherries?

  17. 17
    Bijoux   July 28, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    That sherbet looks so good!!
    I have a cherry pitter but I find it a bit fussy to use at times. Sometimes it is just faster to use a knife. I went raspberry picking in my parent's backyard recently and came home with two yogurt tubs filled with raspberries. I wonder if I can use your recipe to make raspberry buttermilk sherbet?

  18. 18
    Ayla   July 28, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Looks fantastic! My pitting sans-pitter method of choice is using the blunt end of a chopstick to poke them out. Works lovely.

  19. 19
    the twins   July 28, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    that looks so fantastic! thanks for having a recipe with no ice cream maker too…i always see these fantastic recipes and then its like "freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions".

  20. 20
    Bellini Valli   July 29, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Excellent way to use those cherries.

  21. 21
    laura   July 29, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Buttermilk & cherries! What a perfect combination.

  22. 22
    kickpleat   July 29, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Bijoux, yes, i'm sure it would be delicious with raspberries. I think you'd want to strain out the seeds though. Good luck!

    Ayla, heard that was one great way to pit a cherry!

    The Twins, enjoy…without a maker! Hooray.

    Thanks Bellini, I think so too!

    Laura, I sure think so.

  23. 23
    Anonymous   July 29, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Could this work without the sugar or with honey?

  24. 24
    kickpleat   July 29, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Anon, sugar is necessary in that it prevents the sherbet from freezing too hard, but you could certainly use less sugar (or use agave nectar instead).

  25. 25
    Jennifer   July 30, 2009 at 4:11 am

    This sounds fabulous! Ive not had a sherbet like this before with buttermilk!! and the NO ice cream maker sold me over!

  26. 26
    Rose&Thorn   July 30, 2009 at 3:17 am

    Oh that sounds wonderful – I love the tang of the buttermilk and the sweetness of the fruit – yummy:)

  27. 27
    kickpleat   July 30, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Rose & Thorn, it makes for a perfectly lovely treat.

    Hooray Jennifer! It's perfectly easy to make without an ice cream maker. Try it out.

  28. 28
    Tanya   July 30, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    In case you ever lose your cherry pitter — or for anyone that doesn't own one — cherries are easily pitted with a paperclip. Read here for instructions:

    Even my husband is spreading the word on how easy it is. Perfect for cherry season. The sherbet looks fantastic!

    Hope the heat breaks for ya'll soon. Stay cool!

  29. 29
    The Apple Hill Adventurer   July 31, 2009 at 10:46 am

    what a pretty picture! looks delicious as well!

  30. 30
    lyndsay   July 31, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    looks gorgeous and super refreshing!!

  31. 31
    kickpleat   August 1, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Thanks Tanya for the tip!

    I'm happy how the photos turned out too, Apple Hill. Thanks!

    Thanks Lyndsay.

  32. 32
    eatme_delicious   August 2, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Haha oh no too bad you didn't realize you had a cherry pitter until after! Oh well now you will truly appreciate it next time. =) Love the sound of this sherbet and the tang the buttermilk added.

  33. 33
    Molly Jean   August 17, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    THANK YOU! Ice cream maker = not an option because I just have too.damn.much.stuff!

    This looks delicious.

  34. 34
    Christine   April 24, 2010 at 11:25 am

    So what does the bourbon do?

  35. 35
    kickpleat   April 24, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Christine, the bourbon adds a bit of flavour but it also adds creaminess without the sweetness. Alcohol stops too many ice crystals from forming.

  36. 36
    Marisa   July 12, 2010 at 5:08 am

    Wait – bourbon?? Well hello!

  37. 37
    Robert F   August 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I made this and everyone loved it. The pomegranate adds a complexity that cherries alone wouldn’t have. One person immediately identified the bourbon but no one caught the lime. I thought it was a touch too sweet, but no one agreed with me. My only other issue I’d raise was it took longer than 4 hours to setup, more like 7 hours, but no one cared about that either!

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