The Soup Blog
Recipes, Culinary Insights & Humor Spooned Up Fresh Every Week…………………(Now in its Ice Cream Phase)
Simply Divine: Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Categories: Blueberries, Dairy, Ice Cream

A Slice of Heaven

Cheesecake has always been a pretty big thing in my life.

When I was growing up, there was a picture of a slice of cheesecake floating in the clouds taped inside our pantry door. That was also as close to a discussion of heaven as ever took place in our house, which may have been the reason I went on to describe a particular cheesecake as the 7th proof for the existence of God. (It’s the Apple Bavarian Torte and it may make you a believer too. See the recipe here.)

Cheesecake even played a part in my wife’s and my courtship, as she still tells anyone who will listen. I gave her a piece of home-made white chocolate cheesecake on the night of our 10-year-college reunion and that pretty much sealed the deal.

These rich desserts have evolved a lot since my younger days. They made their way into my life as refrigerator desserts that didn’t even require cooking. The basic graham cracker crust, a simple cream cheese filling and a sweetened sour cream topping was all it took. Fresh strawberries went on top. Since then cheesecakes have been variously marbled, water-bathed and topped with a strained glace of raspberries.

Yet despite the ubiquity of flavored cream cheese ‘schmears,’ and the rise of ‘factories’ devoted entirely to cheesecake manufacturing, it’s still the cheesecake’s simplicity that is its greatest appeal. The richness of the cheese flavored with vanilla and softened up with sugar and eggs is classic.

My kids love it, my wife loves it and I love it, because… what’s not to love?

Baskin Robbins sought to capitalize on cheesecake’s mass appeal back in my youth by introducing a Strawberry Cheesecake flavor of ice cream. It was pretty good too. So I thought I could give it a try too. My biggest problem was that I hadn’t had any luck putting pieces of fruit into my ice cream without having them turn into little fruit-flavored chunks of ice. That and I didn’t have any strawberries.

So, I made blueberry cheesecake ice cream instead.

I also did a little research on the web and learned the technique of blending fruit with sugar to draw out a lot of the liquid and keep the chunks from solidifying.

It was worth a try.

A half-pound of cream cheese, a half-cup of blueberries, some sugar and custard later, I got what I wanted. And the fruit freezing method worked!

The kids liked it a lot, as did the wife. I, on the other hand, wasn’t quite transported back to the days of ‘31 Flavors.’ I since learned that Baskin Robbins uses little chunks of cheesecake in their ice cream.

In other words, they cheat.

(sigh)

That’s no way to get into cheesecake heaven.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

(about 2 quarts)
1 ½ cups milk
¾ cup sugar
2 T flour
A few grains salt
2 eggs or 3 yolks (pasteurized, if possible, see note)
1 ½ cups cream
½ cup blueberries
¼ cup sugar
8 oz. cream cheese

  1. Blend milk with sugar, flour and salt, and heat to 180-190ºF stirring frequently until thick, cover for 10 minutes.
  2. Beat eggs and add ½ cup of mixture while beating, then add eggs to mixture.

HEALTH NOTE:     Since you’re dealing with eggs here, you need to take care when cooking the custard. Too much cooking and the custard gets lumpy, too little and you risk salmonella.  Another alternative is to use pasteurized eggs.

  1. Heat the mixture for one minute over medium, then cool with plastic wrap or wax paper pressed onto the top of the mixture to keep it from developing a skin. Cool for several hours or overnight.
  2. Add the blueberries to the sugar and set aside for 45 minutes to an hour, then strain out the excess juice. (Don’t throw it away, though. It tastes really good and might be great fro pancakes.)
  3. When the berries are ready, add the cream cheese to the custard and puree it with an immersion blender so the cheese is thoroughly blended.
  4. Then stir the blueberries into the custard and freeze in an ice cream freezer for about 35 minutes.
  5. Put the now frozen ice cream into the freezer for a couple of hours to give it a chance to firm up.

 


NOTE:    
When freezing ice cream, you need to use an ice cream freezer to ensure that a certain amount of air is mixed into the frozen cream. This gives it a lighter, less icy consistency. When freezing sorbet, you may also freeze it in a popsicle mold, a bowl or on a sheet pan. Be sure to stir the mixture occasionally to limit the size of the ice particles. Larger chunks of ice make for granita, miniscule chunks make for a nice smooth sorbet (an ice cream freezer is ideal).


Photo Credit: “Blueberries & Cream Cheese,” photographed by the author. 

Now that I know how to put chunks of fruit in my ice cream, there are a few earlier recipes you (and I, if there was any time) may want to revisit. First and foremost is the Strawberry Basil, but the Peach and Burgundy Cherry are worth a second look too. Let me know how it works for you in a comment.

Leave a Reply