I sort of lost my fascination with homemade ice cream somewhere around age ten. Once the novelty wore off I realized that the bland, texturally challenged results didn’t stand up to the store bought varieties.
This could be for a variety of reasons: crumby recipes, not taking the time to let the ice cream set up properly after mixing it, using substandard ingredients, etc. Or it could very well simply be about a ten-year old’s fascination with the bubblegum swirl, chocolate doo-da chunky fudge or neon blue cotton candy variations that boomed onto the market about the same time.
Twenty-five years later I gave it another shot. I found a recipe for Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (from Cooking Light, maybe?) and thought it looked like a good idea for the Memorial Day neighborhood shindig we were throwing.
I started doing some homework on homemade ice cream and combined what I thought were necessary constants from my research with the recipe at hand. I made a few changes to it, threw it in a borrowed ice cream maker (thanks Katy!), plugged it in and hoped for the best.
Gooood Gawd, it was good! I just last night scraped the last few ribbons of it from the glass container I stored it in and took no shame in refusing to share it with my husband. I can’t wait to start experimenting with variations of it.
Note to self: must buy ice cream maker this weekend.
Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 8-oz block cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 can blueberry pie filling
Mix sugar, cream cheese, salt and egg yolks in a large bowl until smooth. Combine milk and cream in a medium, heavy saucepan; bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Very gradually add cream mixture to cheese mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk then return entire mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens enough to coat a spoon. Add vanilla extract. Place bowl in the refrigerator or freezer and cool completely, stirring occasionally.
Stir pie filling into milk mixture. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer*; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze for 2 hours.
*you’ll need at least a 2-quart mixer for this recipe. I highly recommend doubling it if you have a 4-quart machine. Trust me, you’ll eat it all.
The original recipe called for fresh berries, confectioner’s sugar and water to be cooked down into a syrup. I thought that sounded exactly like blueberry pie filling and decided to skip that step. If I happened to have had fresh berries on hand, I would absolutely have made the berry filling from scratch.
I also thought – after the fact, of course – that it would have been interesting to hold off stirring in the blueberry filling until I was setting it to freeze so there would have been vibrant purple ribbons of blueberries contrasting the creamy white cheesecake ice cream.
- Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream: substitute blueberry pie filling with cherry pie filling. Reduce vanilla to 2 teaspoons and add one teaspoon of almond extract.
- New York Cheesecake Ice Cream: substitute pie filling with 2 cups sliced strawberries and the juice of one lemon.
- Chunky Cheesecake Ice Cream: Add 1 sleeve of crushed/chunked graham crackers to any variation.
- Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream: Add 3/4 cup of cocoa to sugar mixture. Omit blueberry pie filling. Swirl in 1 cup chocolate fudge ice cream topping before freezing the final 2 hours.
- Mocha Cheesecake Ice Cream: Dissolve 2 tablespoons instant coffee in 4 tablespoons hot water. Add coffee mixture and 2/3 cup of cocoa to sugar mixture. Omit blueberry pie filling. Swirl in 1 cup chocolate fudge ice cream topping before freezing the final 2 hours.