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.

Suggested Variations

  • 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.
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Mandy Richburg Rivers

Mandy Richburg Rivers

Mandy lives in Lexington, South Carolina, is a contributing writer for the Food & Drink section and is currently working on her first cookbook. Mandy is an award winning recipe writer and judges regional cook-offs and other culinary contests.

“I'm just a gal that likes food. Of course I like to eat, but what I've discovered about myself over the years is that there are more ways for me to enjoy food than just eating it. I like to shop for it, read about it, cook it, entertain with it and write about it. And when it's really good, sometimes I'm tempted to throw it on the floor and roll in it."