Black Raspberry Ice Cream on the Short List

It’s just too hot to think right now.  My brain might be melting.  Or at least this is the excuse I am going to use for whatever is preventing me from typing something—anything—that doesn’t induce a yawn. I also see chilly drinks in my immediate future.  And I’d rather be drinking, say, a Pimm’s Cup than slowly becoming a puddle of self-loathing.

So here is a short list of the potential topics I had swirling around to write about relating to the elusive black raspberry:

-Triple berry pie with a flaky crust
-Two-berry twist soft serve, twirls of coral and lilac 
-Grandma Lee’s black raspberry bushes
-Blue-green cardboard pints
-Berry-stained fingers
-Warm black raspberry crisp on a counter top, with cinnamon

I have made a lot of ice cream as an adult. I haven’t had a black raspberry since approximately age sixteen.  But when we met again at the farmers’ market last week, I was ready.  I’ve been training.  Safe to say this black raspberry ice cream will find itself at home with my other favorite flavors. (The short list: rum raisin, Taza chocolate truffle, salted butter caramel, and cardamom lime frozen yogurt with passion fruit.)

So my adult world meets my childhood, at last.  What would you tell sixteen-year-old self?  I’d tell mine to eat more cones of two-berry twist at the ice cream stand with your family, young lady.  And to enjoy those brambly berries because you won’t be seeing them again for roughly fifteen years.  And not to worry: someday you will find yourself a nice pint of black raspberries and some heavy cream, and settle down with a spoon or two.  And the rest will be history. 

Black Raspberry Ice Cream


For the black raspberry syrup

1 pint of black raspberries 
1/3 cup demerara sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice with a little zest grated in
Pinch of salt

For the ice cream base

1½ cups whole milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
Pinch salt
1¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
¼ cup buttermilk
1-2 tbsp cassis
½ cup whole black raspberries


Toss the berries with the sugar, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a small casserole dish.  Roast them at 425 degrees until the berries soften and start concentrating their liquid; the berries will be ready when their liquid is bubbling and starts to get thick (start checking after about 20 minutes, mine took 30 or so).  Blend the roasted berries in a food processor and then strain out the seeds; set the seeds aside.  Measure ½ cup of the black raspberry puree and place in the fridge to chill (this will be added into the ice cream base later).  (If you have any puree remaining you can add it to the rest of the seeds, refrigerate, and use as a black raspberry spread; I didn't have any extra, but this may depend on how juicy your berries are and how long you roast them.)

Mix about 2 tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside.  Whip cream cheese and pinch of salt with a whisk in another small bowl; set aside.

Combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium-sized sauce pan and slowly bring to a rolling boil; let boil gently for 4 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid scorching the milk. Remove the mixture from the heat, whisk in the cornstarch slurry, and bring back to a boil, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula until the mixture thickens slightly (1-2 minutes or so).  Gradually whisk a little of the hot mixture into the cream cheese mixture. Once the cream cheese is mixed in, add the cream cheese mixture into the rest of the ice cream base and whisk to combine; add in the buttermilk and ½ cup reserved black raspberry puree. Strain the mixture for any bits of cream cheese that may not have been fully incorporated.  Add 1-2 tbsp of cassis to the black raspberry ice cream base (start off with less, taste, and add another tbsp as needed).  Cool in a bowl set inside another larger bowl filled with ice and then refrigerate for 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop. 

Pour the chilled black raspberry base into a frozen ice cream canister from an ice cream machine.  Churn the ice cream until it gets thick and creamy and pulls away from the sides of the canister (about 20-25 minutes). While the ice cream is spinning, cut the whole black raspberries in half.  (If you have recently rinsed the berries, make sure they are completely dry before adding them to the ice cream base.) When the ice cream is finished, scoop a little of the ice cream base into a freezer-safe container with a rubber spatula and sprinkle in a few black raspberry halves.  Add a little more ice cream and then follow with more berries. Continue alternating layers until all the berries and ice cream are used up, finishing with a layer of the ice cream. Smooth the top of the ice cream, cover with parchment paper cut to fit the container you are using, and then freeze for a minimum of four hours.

Makes about a quart

-The demerara sugar adds a little richness and deepens the flavor of the berries while they roast, but feel free to use plain old granulated in its place. 
-The recipe was inspired by Jeni's roasted strawberry buttermilk ice cream by way of Pixelated Crumb.
-Growing up in Upstate New York meant black raspberries abound.  Not so in Boston. Sigh.


  1. Well, who wouldn't rather be drinking a Pimm's Cup than, um...doing any number of other things? Now, a Pimm's Cup and some of this perfect-sounding ice cream would be ideal. I'm jealous of your black raspberries--they have been nowhere to be found so far this year!

  2. Black raspberry ice cream is one of my fiancé's favorites and I keep promising to make it for him. I collected enough once to make a black raspberry swirl ice cream but not a full-on black raspberry ice cream. I'll have to try this recipe when I get my hands on some.

  3. I know. This heat is just... ooof. Hopefully the rains today and tonight will mean a cooler tomorrow. I sure hope so. I just took my ice cream maker out for a spin for the first time this season. Now I'm thinking it has some more work to do before I put it back on the shelf... I gave the Jeni's cookbook to my sister for her birthday earlier this month, and she's had success with a couple of the recipes. Sounds like the book's a winner. Her ice cream sure is.

  4. I recently served Apricot flavored ice cream to my kids and they loved it. Maybe because it's new to them. I will surprise them with your Black Raspberry Ice Cream and I can't wait to see their reactions.

  5. I just got an ice cream maker last night and I'm SO excited to try out so many different ice cream recipes!

  6. I want some black raspberries, pronto! Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams also makes a summer flavor of Sweet Corn with Black Raspberry Puree. It's one of my absolute favorites. Tastes like summer, if you could make summer into a single flavor of ice cream.

  7. The ice cream looks so good. I love jeni's recipe

  8. my family and i made black raspberry ice cream (by hand-crank!) every summer when i was growing up. my grandpa ordered us around, we did his bidding, and the end result was amazing. what a hue!

  9. Oh yummmm. I'm so glad you were able to reacquaint yourself with black raspberries. Your ice cream looks absolutely divine. Now I'm off to find some black raspberries....

  10. I could lick the computer screen right now...this looks amazing!