A friend of mine (we'll call her the Enabler) recently asked whether I'd be making ice cream for Shavuot — maybe cheesecake ice cream? I answered that I'd thought about it, but I couldn't very well make ice cream to serve with cheesecake, let alone cheesecake ice cream.
But apparently I could.
Let me explain. The cheesecake recipe we're using this year (a no-bake version, since our oven is broken) calls for 12 ounces of cream cheese. Cream cheese comes in eight-ounce packages, so we bought two and had four ounces extra — exactly the amount called for in this recipe. And strawberries are at the height of their season, so we had two pounds in the fridge. Tell me that isn't a sign from God. (Actually, don't. I prefer the illusion.)
In any case, I'm very pleased with the result. The ice cream has a mild cheesecake flavor without being overwhelmingly rich, and the fresh strawberries really hit the spot. Here's the recipe:
Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Adapted from Joy of Baking
4 oz cream cheese
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (divided)
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used extract)
1 pound (about 2 dry pints) strawberries
- In the inner container of a double boiler (or any medium stainless steel bowl), blend the cream cheese, egg yolks, and 2/3 cup sugar with a whisk or, preferably, an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). (At this point, you may wish to begin heating the water for step 4.)
- In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half to the scalding point along with the vanilla bean, if using. (If using extract, do not add it at this point.) Stir frequently to prevent a skin from forming. When the cream reaches the scalding point, the milk will begin to foam up rapidly. Immediately remove from heat. Take out the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out with the back of a knife, then mix the seeds back into the half-and-half.
- Slowly pour the scalding half-and-half into the cream cheese mixture while whisking the mixture to prevent the eggs from cooking. (If any lumps do form, force the mixture through a strainer.)
- Fill the outer container of the double boiler (or a saucepan) with water and bring to a boil. Place the bowl or container of custard over the simmering water and heat, stirring constantly, until the custard reaches 170 degrees F or coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and continue to stir for a few minutes. Set aside.
- Cut up half the strawberries and puree them in a food processor or blender. Stir the remaining two tablespoons of sugar into the puree, then stir the puree into the custard along with the vanilla extract, if using. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate several hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
- Freeze the chilled mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Chop the remaining strawberries. Remove the ice cream from the machine and stir in the strawberries. Transfer to freezer to harden.
Cross-posted to the Kosher Blog.