Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Scream, You Scream...

The first batch of ice cream is here!

I didn't have a very hard time choosing my first ice cream recipe of the summer: Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream. Baskin-Robbins used to have a Raspberry Cheesecake flavor I loved, berries are in high season right now, and I've had this recipe stashed away for a couple years - it all just seemed to come together.

What I didn't realize when I chose this particular recipe was that it's eggless and no-cook - a combination I have no experience with when it comes to ice cream-making. I didn't put those pieces together until I'd already bought all the ingredients and was all set to start making the base. And really, once I get it in my head that I'm making ice cream, and I have all the ingredients set out and I'm thinking, "Ice cream in a few hours! Ice cream in a few hours!" there's no going back. So eggless, no-cook Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream it was. Below is the original recipe, with my notes in parentheses.

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

For cheesecake ice cream:
8 oz. cream cheese
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups half and half
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For raspberry swirl:
12 oz. fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 cup sugar

Let cream cheese soften slightly and beat with an electric mixer. Slowly add the sweetened condensed milk, while beating on low speed (I can't stress how important it is to thoroughly combine these before adding the half and half). Add the half and half, beating on lowest speed. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract. (Check to make sure mixture is thoroughly combined and there are no cream cheesy lumps.) Cover the bowl and chill for about an hour, or until very cold. (I placed a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the ice cream mixture, to keep it from forming a skin.)

In the meantime, place the raspberries in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Let sit until the raspberries release some of their juices. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Freeze the ice cream mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer directions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-proof container. Remove the raspberries from the fridge. Pour the raspberries and any juice over the ice cream. Use the back of a wooden spoon or a blunt knife to swirl the raspberries throughout the ice cream. Cover tightly and freeze for several hours to harden.

Keeps well for about 2 weeks.

And here are the results:

A bowl full of yum.
Overall, this was exactly the raspberry cheesecake-y ice cream experience I was looking for. There are a couple things I'd do differently, though. Even though I let the berries sit and macerate as directed, they still more or less retained their shape and were pretty, well, crunchy in the frozen ice cream. I think in the future, I'd probably puree about 3/4 of the berries, strain through a sieve, reduce to a syrupy consistency on the stovetop and then combine with the remaining 1/4 of the whole berries (maybe chop them roughly?), to give it a slightly smoother texture.

Also, I made the mistake of freezing it in a glass container. I didn't really think about the insulating properties of glass and that this would slow the freezing process. It made for a slightly soupy mess on my counter when transferring the ice cream to the container, and definitely slowed freezing time. Next time I'll be sure to use plastic.

The other thing I felt like this was missing was one of my favorite parts of cheesecake: the graham cracker crust. I suppose I could bake a graham cracker crust, break it into chunks, freeze it, and then stir it into the ice cream before freezing. Or I could take the lazy route, buy a store-bought graham cracker pie crust, and crumble that in. Or I could just do this:

Surely you're familiar with the frozen treat that is the ice cream sandwich?

Problem officially solved.


Katherine said...

Yummers. The sandwich is not only efficient, but also adorable.

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