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Black Forest ice cream

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You’ll love this ice cream if you like Black Forest cakes, cherries, and chocolate. Labneh or creme kefir forms the base of the ice cream, and its mild tangy flavor shines with the sweet and sour notes of the cherries. Don’t dismiss frozen cherries here, they are cheaper and packed with good flavor, but in this recipe, they will also help you save some extra time. You can and should use it to make my Black Forest Ice Cream Cake.

  • Yield: about 5 cups /1.2L


3 cups/710 ml whole milk + 3 Tbsp

1 1/2 cups/180 ml heavy cream

3/4 cup/150 g sugar

3 Tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 Tbsp/80 ml kirsch (optional)

12 oz/340 g cherries frozen or fresh, pits and stems removed

1/4 cup/60 ml runny honey

8 oz/230 g labneh/creme kefir

1/2 cup/90 g semi-sweet dark chocolate chips (I used 70% cacao)


  1. Place the 3 cups/710 ml milk, heavy cream, and sugar in a thick-bottomed deep saucepan. Heat the contents of the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Stir occasionally with a silicone spatula to dissolve the sugar.
  2. While the milk heats, prepare a slurry of cornstarch with 3 Tbsp. Quickly whisk this slurry into the boiling milk, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the stove, transfer it 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 in a large mixing bowl. Whisk for 30 seconds until loose, then pour 1/2 cup of the chilled ice cream base. Add the vanilla extract and 2 Tbsp of kirsch. Whisk to combine. Then slowly whisk the mixture in the bowl until smooth and combined evenly. Pour the chilled remaining ice cream base into a thin steady stream into the bowl.
  4. Pour the ice cream base into the canister of your ice cream maker and prepare as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, if you don’t own an ice cream maker, transfer the ice cream base to a metal container and cover it with cling wrap. Freeze the mixture for 2 hours or until it begins to firm up. Remove from the freezer, unwrap, and crush the ice crystals using a fork or immersion blender. Alternatively, transfer to a blender or food processor and pulse to break the ice crystals. Cover with the cling wrap and refreeze. Repeat three to four times at 30-minute intervals until the mixture turns soft but frozen. Freezing times will vary depending on the refrigerator.
  5. While the ice cream churns, prepare the cherry sauce. Place the cherries in a blender. Add the remaining 3 Tbsp of kirsch and honey. Pulse until smooth and combined. Remove and transfer the sauce, strain if needed. Keep chilled until ready to use.
  6. Transfer half of the ice cream into an airtight freezer-safe container. Pour half the chilled cherry sauce over the ice cream and half 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 have a uniform pinkish ice cream. (the swirls make the texture visually and taste more interesting). Keep in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to firm up before serving.


  • Frozen cherries will also work well here. Because they’re frozen, you won’t need to chill the sauce after preparing, and it will save you some time.
  • Labneh is sometimes called creme kefir. Don’t use kefir in this recipe.
  • Runny honey is a better option here than creamed honey, as it’s easier to dissolve.

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