In this weather, ice cream for dessert is almost a given. For our next venture, I asked Jeremy to look through The Perfect Scoop and pick something out, and he lighted on cheesecake ice cream, so I grabbed the ingredients when I went to the grocery store at the beginning of the week. Back home, I realized that the recipe only made about 3 cups of ice cream, which, according to Jeremy, was definitely not enough. I didn’t have the stuff to make a double batch, and that much wouldn’t fit in our little machine anyway, but I thought it might be able to handle a batch and a half, and I had just enough sour cream leftover from our chicken chili for that. (Incidentally, we have been really enjoying Nancy’s sour cream in the past month or so. We get their yogurt all the time, but had never tried the sour cream because we aren’t big fans in general. It’s wonderful thick stuff, though, and it’s organic, with no thickeners or stabilizers. And it’s from Oregon too, which is a bonus.)
The ice cream recipe itself was incredibly easy, and I was pleased to see, as I stood in my 80-degree kitchen, that it didn’t require any heat to make the base, just a blender. A few zaps later, it was chilling in the fridge for an after dinner treat.
A batch and a half did fit in our ice cream maker… just. When it was almost ready, it was starting to come up over the edges of the bowl, about to make a break for it. We hastily spooned some into bowls, tucked the rest into a freezer container, and tried to eat it before it could melt.
This is incredibly decadent ice cream. It really does taste like frozen cheesecake, with just enough sweetness and a tangy undertone from the sour cream. I topped my scoop with a sprinkle of candied peanut crumbs from the bottom of a bag from Trader Joe’s, but this ice cream would make a lovely foil for anything you could imagine pairing with cheesecake. Fruit toppings or chocolate fudge spring to mind first, but with that cream cheese flavor, it could really be much more versatile. It would also work with virtually any baked good you might top with cream cheese frosting. I’m thinking these carrot cake cookies would make stellar ice cream sandwiches… it’s worth the experiment.
This time, though, I decided to go with another classic cheesecake pairing: graham crackers. I would make my own graham crackers with this recipe from Nancy Silverton, and make cheesecake ice cream sandwiches with them. The dough was very quick to make using the food processor; I used wildflower honey, and I could definitely taste it in the dough (What? Some stuck to the board when I patted it out…). I made it on Wednesday night, intending to roll up and bake the cookies after dinner, but we ate so late that we barely had time to finish sampling the ice cream before bed. To be continued…
Cheesecake Ice Cream
1 lemon, preferably unsprayed (or some dried lemon zest from Penzeys, if you obliviously walked by the lemons at the grocery store without remembering to get one)
8 oz cream cheese, cut into pieces
1 C sour cream
1/2 C half-and-half
2/3 C sugar
Pinch of salt
Zest the lemon directly into a blender or food processor (Note: The blender works better for me, because you can stick it in the fridge and then pour easily into the ice cream machine later), then add the remaining ingredients and puree to a uniformly smooth consistency. Chill mixture thoroughly and freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Update 6/5/07: We had a German chocolate brownie from LifeSource (something we seem to pick up everytime we shop there), heated up, with a scoop or two of ice cream for dessert last night, and let me tell you, it was eye-rollingly wonderful. Cheesecake ice cream + brownies = heaven.