Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Frozen Cheesecake with Fresh Berries

I really didn’t think of myself as a cheesecake person when I met The Hubs–probably because the only cheesecake I’d eaten, up that point, was the no-bake variety you can buy in a box at the grocery store.  (Don’t do it.  Just don’t.)  Then The Hubs made me one of his famous cherry cheesecakes, and I was born again.  These days, it’s hard to imagine a celebration that doesn’t include a slice of cheesecake.

But when it’s July in south Texas, and it’s way too hot to bake, and you have a holiday weekend coming up, what’s a cheesecake-loving foodie to do?   The only logical choice, I thought, was to let the freezer do the work of the oven.  When I started looking for cheesecake ice cream recipes, I was reminded of the fact that many cheesecake makers go wrong (in my humble opinion) by complicating the flavor of the cream cheese with additional and unnecessary ingredients; lemon juice and sour cream are the most common, although I’ve also seen recipes that make use of unflavored gelatin.  What I like about The Hubs’ cheesecake is that it tastes like what it is:  cream cheese, sugar, a little vanilla.  That’s it.  (And eggs, of course.  But you don’t need those for the ice cream.)

I used The Hubs’ cheesecake recipe as my guide when putting this one together.  You’ll need an ice cream maker, but it doesn’t have to be fancy; ours is a super-cheap variety that we bought at a discount store years ago, and it’s still cranking right along. Once you’ve churned the ice cream, you have two options:  you can spoon the soft-churned ice cream into 9-inch graham cracker shells (or several small shells–that’s what I did) and put the cheesecakes in the freezer to firm up; or, you can pack the ice cream into a plastic container and put it in the freezer until it reaches a scoopable consistency.  Then, skip the graham cracker shells and just make cheesecake sundaes with your favorite cheesecake toppings.  I used a mixture of fresh berries on the mini-cheesecakes because I had them on hand–and, okay, because they fit with the red-white-and-blue theme of the day.  I tossed them with a tiny bit of sugar, too, just to give them a shiny gloss.

This recipe makes two quarts of ice cream.  I like that it makes a small batch because the ice cream is very rich.   Keep in mind that if you use 2% milk rather than whole milk (which I did, to offset the fat content of the heavy cream), your ice cream will take a little longer to firm up.  Don’t skip the heavy cream, though–it’s necessary if you want your ice cream to have a silky texture.


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Frozen Cheesecake with Fresh Berries

Ingredients:

2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese (light or regular), softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh berries of your choice: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, whatever you like

Directions:

Blend the ice cream base. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Slowly add the milk, a little at a time, to thin the cream cheese mixture. (If you use light cream cheese, the ice cream base won't become completely smooth and you'll end up with small chunks of cream cheese in your ice cream. I like it that way, but if you don't, use regular cream cheese instead.) After all the milk has been added, gently stir in the cream.

Chill the ice cream base. Let this mixture chill in the refrigerator, covered, for at least four hours or overnight.

Make the ice cream. Follow the directions for your ice cream maker--mine requires about 30 minutes of mixing and freezing for this recipe, but your mileage may vary. Spoon the soft-frozen ice cream into graham cracker pie shells and transfer them to the freezer. Allow the cheesecakes to firm up for at least three or four hours. Alternatively, just pack the ice cream into an airtight container and place in the freezer until it's hardened to a scoopable consistency.

Top the frozen cheesecake with berries, or make cheesecake sundaes with your favorite toppings.

 

2 Responses to “Frozen Cheesecake with Fresh Berries”

  1. 1

    Return to Sunday Supper℠ — July 6, 2011 @ 2:44 am

    OK, I'm game…It's hot here too and these look delicious! I'm going to have to "ice" one this weekend!

  2. 2

    Pam — July 6, 2011 @ 2:57 am

    Let me know what you think of it, Susie!

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