Balsamic-Roasted Cherry Ice Cream |

Balsamic-Roasted Cherry Ice Cream

Summer is finally starting to hit the Pacific West Coast and we should have blue skies and warm temperatures through the weekend. Given that it’s the middle of August, I feel like we’re due, and what better way to celebrate the warmth of summer, than to make ice cream! This was my second attempt at this Roasted Cherry Ice Cream, and Jonty thinks it might be the best ice cream I’ve ever made. We’re entering lofty-statement-zone here… 😉 | Balsamic roasted-cherry ice cream

The first time I made this ice cream, I simply roasted the cherries. The end result was pretty good, but I thought it could be improved. The second time I made this ice cream, I roasted the cherries with balsamic vinegar. So much better! I didn’t even bother to pit the cherries. After about 15 minutes in a hot oven, they start to soften enough that you can prick them and mash them up with a fork, and the cherry pit comes right out. No stained fingers, just lovely, super-sweet balsamic cherry pieces.

We don’t have an ice cream maker but, given how easy our no-churn ice cream is to make, I doubt we’ll ever buy one. All you need is a high-speed blender (ours is a Blendtec), a metal loaf pan and a fork, and you’re good to go, seriously-super-easy. | Balsamic roasted-cherry ice cream

Like most of the ice creams on our site, this recipe requires only a handful of ingredients, with no artificial sweeteners and lots of great, healthy fats; I could almost argue it’s basically health food! 🙂 | Balsamic roasted-cherry ice cream

We’re at the tail-end of cherry season in B.C., but if you can get your hands on a few cups of these berries, I urge you to make this ice cream and enjoy the remaining hot days of summer!

Balsamic-Roasted Cherry Ice Cream
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This easy no-churn ice cream is sure to please. Vegan, gluten-free and unbelievably tasty.
  • 350 g (~3 overflowing cups) cherries, pits still in, stems removed
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 140 g (1 cup) raw cashews, soaked in water at least 4 hours, or overnight
  • 1 can (14 fl.oz) full-fat coconut milk (I like Thai Kitchenbest)
  • 2 - 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chunks or cacao nibs (optional)
  1. Soak the raw cashews in water for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Place the can of coconut milk in the fridge to cool.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 425 F. Remove stems and wash the cherries, but leave the pits in. In an oven-proof glass or ceramic pan, roast the cherries, whole, for 15 minutes. Remove the cherries from the oven and, using two forks, prick and shred the cherries apart, removing the pits as you go. Toss the cherry pieces with the balsamic vinegar, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes, until soft. Allow the cherries to cool before making the ice cream.
  3. To make the ice cream, drain the cashews from their soaking water and place into the high-speed blender. Add the chilled coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla and a few of the roasted cherries into the blender. Puree for a few minutes and taste. Add more maple syrup, if necessary. Puree again until completely smooth.
  4. Pour the liquid into metal loaf pan. Stir in rest of cherries and dark chocolate, if using. Place the pan into the freezer.
  5. Every 30 minutes, stir the mixture to loosen up the frozen bits. Make sure to scrape around the edge of the pan, to fully incorporate the ice cream. Repeat this 3 or 4 times, until the ice cream really starts to firm up.
  6. You can eat the ice cream at this time, or leave it to freeze completely. If frozen completely, remove the ice cream from the freezer at least 15 minutes before you plan on serving it, to make it scoopable.
We find the flavours really start to develop over a few days, so make this mid-week to enjoy on the weekend! Remove the ice cream from the freezer at least 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy! | Balsamic roasted-cherry ice cream

Chocolate Cherry Cake… and Another Year Older!

It was my birthday this past week. Jonty and I both took the day off work, as it fell mid-week, and we both believe that nobody should have to work on their birthday! It was a beautiful day, and it was filled with many of my favourite things: we started with an early-morning climbing session at Porteau Cove, and were back in town by 1pm, just in time to trundle down on our bikes for a little mid-afternoon food-truck snack and a celebratory beverage (or two!). The evening was filled with birthday cake, tasty snacks, and Sprinter planning. All in all, a most enjoyable day!

Jonty made my birthday cake the night before, so I was able to snap a few pictures before we demolished it over the following days – a chocolate sponge cake, layered with toasted almonds and a cherry reduction, and topped with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and more toasted almonds. It was fantastic!! | Chocolate cherry cake with toasted | Chocolate cherry cake with toasted almonds | Chocolate cherry cake with toasted almonds

I felt very loved on my birthday, and look forward to all the exciting adventures of the coming year, who knows where we’ll be in a years time!! | Chocolate cherry cake with toasted almonds

Layered Chocolate Cherry Cake
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1 - 8" layered cake
  • Serving size: ⅛th cake
  • Calories: 476
  • Fat: 29.4 g
  • Saturated fat: 16.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 48.3 g
  • Sugar: 27 4 g
  • Sodium: 90 mg
  • Fiber: 1.8 g
  • Protein: 7.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 164.1 mg
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The recipe Jonty uses is for a basic sponge cake, using the ratio of 1:1:1:1 for eggs, sugar, flour and butter. So if you have a scale, this recipe becomes very easy to make.
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 200 g caster (extra-fine granulated) sugar
  • 200 g all-purpose flour, minus 2 tbsp
  • 200 g butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp (scant) baking powder
  • 125 mL whipping cream
  • 10 - 15 cherries, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ cup almonds, coarsely chopped and toasted
  • Good-quality dark chocolate (we used Lindt 70% Madagascar Dark Chocolate)
  1. Directions:
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and line two 8-inch circular baking tins with parchment paper (this recipe also works with one 9-inch square pan).
  3. Place the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer and let them come to room temperature so the sugar desolves. Whisk on high for 6 minutes (less time than this may not give enough leavening to the cake).
  4. Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder.
  5. In two rounds, gently fold the flour mixture into to the egg mixture.
  6. In two rounds, add the melted (and cooled) butter and fold gently in.
  7. Divide the batter evenly into the two prepared cake tins and bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes (for one 9-inch square pan, bake for 35 minutes).
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove the cake from the pan and cool completely.
  9. While the cake is baking, pit and chop the cherries, place into a small pan with a drop of water and simmer on low until they have reduced and thickened (10-15 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside.
  10. Chop and toast the almonds (toaster oven works well here!) and whip the cream (additional sugar is not needed here - the cherries and sponge cake are sweet enough!).
  11. To assemble the cake, sandwich the cherries and half the almonds between the two cake layers and spread the whipped cream over the entire cake (top and sides). Use a microplane to shave chocolate onto the top of the cake, and sprinkle with the remaining almonds.
  12. While this cake tastes best the day you make it, it does hold up (covered) in the fridge for up to three days.

Enjoy! | Chocolate cherry cake with toasted almonds

Chocolate Cherry Chunk Ice Cream

We’re right in the middle of cherry season here and, judging by the bottomless bowl of them in our fridge, we’re keeping the BC cherry growers in business! We’re also in the middle of ice cream season, so we’ve been putting our fruit bounties to good use! | Chocolate cherry chunk ice cream

Since finding a fantastic non-churn ice cream recipe that doesn’t use full-fat cream or sweetened condensed milk, we’ve been making our own at home, trying out different flavour combinations. We’ve gone through raspberries, mint and have now landed on cherries!

As with the others, this ice cream base uses raw cashews and bananas, and is sweetened with maple syrup and fresh fruit. Trust me when I say you will not miss the dairy!

For this batch, I pitted and chopped up a handful of cherries and reduced them over medium-low heat until they turned into a jam-like consistency. This was swirled into the ice cream, along with dark chocolate chips and cacao nibs (for a nice crunch). | Chocolate cherry chunk ice cream

The ice cream needs at least 4 hours in the freezer to firm up, so it’s a bit of a delayed-gratification kind of dessert. Definitely worth the wait, though. | Chocolate cherry chunk ice cream

Before you mix everything together, taste the ice cream for sweetness and add more maple syrup than you think you might need, as the sweetness does become subdued as mixture freezes.

If you want a nice scoop-able ice cream, take it out of the freezer 10 to 15 minutes before you plan on serving it. Jonty realized that you can cut this ice cream into perfect wedges with a sharp knife, so we’ve been making little ice cream sandwiches out of them, too! Very tasty 🙂

Chocolate Cherry Chunk Ice Cream
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 3 cups
  • Serving size: ½ cup
  • Calories: 296
  • Fat: 14.5 g
  • Saturated fat: 4.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40.7 g
  • Sugar: 27.9 g
  • Sodium: 11.1 mg
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 5.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.7 mg
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 2 ripe bananas, frozen
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup (plus more, if needed)
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 200 g (~1.5 cups) cherries, pitted
  1. Soak the cashews in water for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse. Chop the bananas into chunks and place into the freezer, at least 4 hours before making the ice cream, or overnight.
  2. To make the cherry purée: Pit and roughly chop the cherries. Place ⅔ of the cherries into a small sauce pan and gently simmer over medium-low heat until they reduce (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. To make the ice cream: Combine the cashews plus ⅓ cup water in a blender and purée until completely smooth. Add in the frozen banana pieces, maple syrup, coconut oil, sea salt and remaining ⅓ of the cherries. Cut the vanilla pod down the centre and scrape the seeds into the blender. Blend mixture together until smooth and well-combined.
  4. Taste for sweetness. Once the ice cream freezes, it will not be as sweet as it tastes now, so if necessary, add a bit more maple syrup. Once you're happy with the sweetness, add the chocolate chips and cacao nibs and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer the mixture into a glass or metal container. Pour the cherry purée on the ice cream, using a knife to swirl the purée into the mix. Place into the freezer for at 4 hours.
To serve, let the ice cream soften on the counter for 10 minutes to make it easier to scoop.

Enjoy! | Chocolate cherry chunk ice cream

Criss-Cross Lattice-Top Cherry Pie

The first Monday of July finds me back in my office, behind a computer screen or down on the treatment floor. I have no doubt that by the end of my first week, I will be back into the swing of things and the previous six month sabbatical will almost feel like a distant dream.

I’m hoping this pie will help ease me back into work routine, especially as it’s easy-to-make pie with local BC cherries. I love pie!

The BC cherries have been flooding the markets over the last few weeks, and we’ve had a continual supply in our fridge. Every time the fridge door opens, a small handful of cherries gets plucked from the bowl, regardless of what we were actually needing from the fridge.

I grew up in Saskatchewan but my grandparents lived in BC, and every summer they would drive out to visit, and I remember the trunk of their car filled with piles of fruit (peaches, cherries, pears, apples). The peaches were grand, as were the apples and pears, but cherries were my favourite. I would fill my bowl with handfuls of them and wander off to nibble away. To savour them, I would try to suck the pit clean of all the cherry-goodness. It’s funny how certain foods can bring back so many memories! | Lattice-top cherry pie

This pie is not difficult to make but can be time-consuming, depending on your cherry-pitting method. Our cherry-pitter is a chopstick. Pushing the end of the chopstick through the stem will push the pit out the other end. It can be a messy job, so I would recommend you (a) do this over the sink, (b) do NOT wear white, and (c) avoid starting your career as a hand-model until the cherry stains have worn from around your fingernails. | Lattice-top cherry pie

The pastry dough can be made ahead and left in the fridge until you’re ready to make the pie. At a minimum, it should rest in the fridge for at least an hour, to stay nice and cold. | Lattice-top cherry | Lattice-top cherry pie

The cherries are tossed with a bit of sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice, then poured into a pastry-lined 9-inch pie plate. I decided to do a criss-cross lattice-top for this pie. Then into the oven it goes for 90 minutes. You know it’s done when the top is golden-brown and the cherry filling is bubbling away. | Lattice-top cherry pie

The hardest part of this recipe is not the making of the pie, it’s waiting for it to cool! A general guideline is about 4 hours, which is definitely not long enough if the inside temperature of your apartment is roughly 28°C, as it has been here in BC. | Lattice-top cherry pie

We couldn’t wait. The filling was runny. We didn’t care. It was a mess. It was awesome 🙂

The next day, after the pie had sat in the fridge overnight, the filling had set nicely making the pieces much more picture-worthy. | Lattice-top cherry pie

I’ve read some fruit-pie recipes that use a cringingly large amount of sugar (some well over 1 cup!), I don’t agree with this nor do I think it’s necessary. Ripe fruit is sweet enough and will become sweeter as it cooks, so I’ve only used a small amount here. Give it a try, and see what you think! | Lattice-top cherry pie

Criss-Cross Lattice-Top Cherry Pie
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1 - 9" pie (8 slices)
  • Serving size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 470
  • Fat: 26.5 g
  • Saturated fat: 16.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 55.8 g
  • Sugar: 21.9 g
  • Sodium: 5.5 mg
  • Fiber: 3.2 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Cholesterol: 68.6 mg
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
For the filling
  • 850 g whole cherries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
For the pastry dough:
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple-cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp ice-cold water
To make the dough:
  1. Sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter (cubed) and pulse in a food processor, or mix quickly by hand.
  2. Add the liquid (vinegar + water) and pulse until the dough starts to come together. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead gently on the countertop to bring the dough together.
  3. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Shape and flatten into discs, wrap in plastic or parchment paper, and refrigerate for at least one hour (up to 4 days).
To prepare the filling:
  1. Pit and remove the stems from all the cherries. Roughly chop them into quarters.
  2. Place the cherries in a large bowl and add the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Thoroughly mix to ensure all cherries are covered.
  3. Place the cherry mixture into the fridge while you prepare your pastry.
To make the pie:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and place a baking tray on the middle rack of the oven.
  2. On a lightly-floured counter, roll out one piece of chilled dough into 13-inch circle (basically, make sure the size of the rolled dough is about 4 inches larger than your pie plate). Carefully place the dough into the pie plate, gently pressing it down into the bottom and sides of the plate.
  3. Roll out your second piece of dough in the same manner. If you're making a lattice crust, cut the dough into 2-inch strips.
  4. Spoon the cherry mixture (including extra liquid) into the prepared pie plate. Brush the edges of the dough with some milk. Place the top crust on, pressing the edges of the top-dough onto the bottom dough.
  5. Cut off any excess dough, leaving about 1 to 2 inches overhanging the pie plate. Roll the bottom dough over the top dough and crimp the edge to seal. Brush the top crust with some milk and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
  6. Place the pie on the baking sheet in the pre-heated oven (to catch any spills) and bake for about 90 minutes, or until the crust is golden-brown and the cherries are bubbling.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for a minimum of 4 hours, or over night, to let the mixture fully set.