Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Strawberry cheesecake ice cream

When I stepped outside of the house this morning to take my dogs out, it occured to me how unusually warm the morning air was. It felt more like a mild summer than the start of spring. As the day progressed, the temperature creeped up to the late 70's, giving me the perfect excuse to use my new ice cream maker (thanks, mom and dad :) and the beautiful strawberries I bought this past weekend.

I've been trying to figure out what to do with these strawberries all week, and every time I thought about them, I kept coming back to a strawberry cheesecake. But then I had an even better idea...Strawberry cheesecake ice cream! It's perfect really, since ice cream is so versatile you can turn virtually anything into an ice cream, what better than a  decadent cheesecake?

So that's how I ended up making this rich, creamy strawberry ice cream with a graham cracker crust sprinkled throughout. It is heavenly and a perfect way to cool off on a day like today.

Strawberry cheesecake ice cream:

For the strawberry sauce:
  • 1 1/3 cups of strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 2 Tbs water
In a medium saucepan, add the strawberries, sugar, and water and cook on medium heat. Let sugar boil and stir, until it has dissolved and starts to thicken, about 5-8 minutes. Use a blender to puree half of the mixture, then return to saucepan and add the vanilla and honey. let simmer a few minutes longer, until thickened a little more. Cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the ice cream:
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 0z cream cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbs brown sugar
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cream cheese, and egg yolks. Mix well. Meanwhile, heat a saucepan with the heavy cream and milk until simmering. Add the milk to the cream cheese mixture gradually, stirring with each addition of the milk. Place the entire mixture back into the saucepan on low heat, stirring ocassionally until mixture thickens into a custard. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon. Off the heat, stir in the strawberry sauce and vanilla and let the mixture come to room temperature. When mixture is at room temperature, place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or until completely cool. Pour the custard into your ice cream maker and mix according to manufacturer's instructions. Makes about 1 quart.

For the graham cracker crust:
  • 1 cup graham cracker (10 squares), crushed
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Melt the butter in a saucepan and mix together with the graham crackers and sugar. Stir in the mixture the last 5-10 minutes of your ice cream maker's mix time.

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