no churn oatmeal and sour cherry ice cream

no churn oatmeal ice cream with sour cherry swirl— with spice food blog

I love to geek out on flavor chemistry. It’s a mix of my love of chemistry and my past life as a winemaker. Plus, it helps me pretend like I’m using my degrees. Benzaldehyde is what brings this mind, and it’s the flavor link between almonds and cherries. It’s found in bitter almonds and cherry pits (among other stone fruit kernels), along with a dash hydrogen cyanide, but don’t worry too much about that. Why is benzaldehyde important? Because it’s also known as almond extract, and a tiny splash of it in desserts with cherries will enhance the cherry flavor. And that’s exactly what I did in this oatmeal and sour cherry ice cream. The swirl and the ice cream base both have a touch of almond extract, which you wouldn’t necessarily notice outright, and the resulting swirl is intensely, luxuriously cherry. This flavor enhancing is extra important in ice creams and frozen desserts because the cold temperature mutes flavors, so don’t skip the almond! I don’t have a chemical reason for choosing oatmeal as the ice cream flavor base, other than it tastes delicious with sour cherries.

The oatmeal ice cream is rich, creamy and offset by the sweet, tart, luscious swirls of sour cherry puree.

Best of all, it doesn’t require an ice cream maker! And there’s no sweetened condensed milk here so the flavors of the oatmeal and sweet cream truly shine. I developed this particular recipe off of a hodgepodge of Stella Parks (my food chemistry idol) techniques. She’s the engineer of this fantastic no churn method, as well as the inspiration for making a deliciously gooey fruit swirl.

This ice cream is the perfect treat for hot summer days. I dreamt it up with the Fourth of July in mind, but it’s a delicious dessert any day of the season. Enjoy!

no churn oatmeal ice cream with sour cherry swirl— with spice food blog

notes on this no churn oatmeal and sour cherry ice cream:

  • This makes approximately 8 cups of ice cream. I divide the ice cream into two 8x4 loaf pans, but you can use whatever pan you want! An 8x8 pan is the perfect size, and would make it really easy to drizzle the syrup for the sour cherry swirl.

  • Sour cherries have a tiny window of a season. Don’t fret if you can’t find them-- my favorite substitute is the jar of Dark Morello Cherries from Trader Joes! This swirl recipe uses exactly 1 jar. Also, don’t buy them from Amazon— they’re about $3 from Trader Joe’s

  • When whipping the cream, watch it very carefully. The cream has starches in it from the oatmeal soak that make it thicken and whip much faster than plain heavy cream.

  • Don’t rush the partial freezing in step 5! If the base isn’t firm enough, the cherry swirl will fall through and end up on the bottom of your pan. The ice cream will still taste delicious, but it won’t look nearly as pretty.

no churn oatmeal and sour cherry ice cream

makes 2 quarts of ice cream and 1 cup of sour cherry syrup | recipe inspired by Stella Parks’ No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream


sour cherry swirl

  • 12 oz pitted sour cherries, fresh or canned in light syrup

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

oatmeal ice cream

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

  • 6 large eggs

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt


sour cherry swirl

  1. In a medium saucepan, blend cherries with an immersion blender until mostly smooth. Alternatively, puree cherries in a food processor for about 30 seconds and transfer to the saucepan.

  2. Stir in sugar, lemon juice and salt. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula to prevent scorching, about 5 minutes. Continue to boil and cook down the mixture, stirring, until it reaches 224°F, another 6- 7 minutes.

  3. Let cool about 5 minutes then strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the solids with rubber spatula to extract excess syrup (use cheesecloth if you want an extra smooth puree). Stir in almond extract, cover and refrigerate overnight, or until very cold.

Swirl can be made several days ahead. Extra cherry syrup can be used in cocktails or simply topped with club soda for a homemade soda

oatmeal ice cream

  1. In a small skillet over medium low heat, lightly toast oats until fragrant and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor, pulse about 10 times, or until oats are roughly chopped but not pureed. Transfer to a bowl and stir in heavy cream. Cover and steep in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight for maximum flavor.

  2. After steeping, pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve placed over the bowl of a stand mixer, and use a spoon to gently press remaining cream out of the solids. Discard the leftover oats.

  3. Add vanilla and almond extracts to the cream and return bowl to stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip cream on medium speed for 3- 5 minutes, or until it’s thick enough to hold stiff peaks (the oatmeal will accelerate this process so it watch closely). Transfer whipped cream to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate. Rinse whisk attachment and mixer bowl.

  4. Use a fork to quickly mix together eggs, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl. Fill a large saucepan with a few inches of water and set the bowl on top to create a double boiler. Bring the water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir and scrape mixture continuously with a rubber spatula until it reaches 160°F, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve placed over the bowl of a stand mixer to remove any bits of cooked egg. Return bowl to the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on high speed until very thick, foamy and more than quadrupled in size, 5- 8 minutes.

  5. Use a wide, flexible spatula to fold in whipped cream, being careful not to deflate the egg base, until fully incorporated. Put bowl in the freezer for 2- 3 hours, or until the ice cream is about half frozen.

  6. Scoop a quarter of the mixture into a large, non reactive pan or dish (see note above), then use a spoon to generously drizzle the sour cherry syrup across the surface. Cover the syrup with another quarter of the ice cream base, then drizzle surface with more syrup. Repeat this layering process two more times. Cover the pan and freeze for 6- 8 hours, or until firm and fully frozen.

no churn oatmeal ice cream with sour cherry swirl— with spice food blog

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