I love my ice cream machine and undoubtedly is one of the best buys I have ever done! Since I got it, over 10 years now, I rarely buy ice cream. The taste, the texture, the ability to make whatever flavor you like or whatever flavor combinations you like makes the homemade ice cream unbeatable. I make a lot of different ice cream flavors all over summertime (each one in my family has its own preferences) but my favorite is the cheesecake ice cream with cherries and digestive crust chunks. I just cant get enough of it. The slightly tangy taste of the cream cheese with the sweet syrupy cherries and the crunchy digestive chunks is really heaven in a bowl!
Ice cream is in fact a simple custard cream with only 4 ingredients. Milk, heavy cream, sugar and egg yolks. These are the basic ingredients for an ice cream. Depending on the taste that we want to give to our ice cream we add everything else. Vanilla extract or vanilla bean for a vanilla ice cream, cocoa or chocolate for chocolate ice cream, banana for banana ice cream and so go on. There are also all the mix-in ingredients or the swirls we use to enrich the flavor like nuts, chocolate chips, cookies, brownies, fruits, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce and everything else you can imagine. As you understand making ice cream can be a boundless field of experimentation without forgetting of course of everything classic and all the flavors we already love.
Ice cream is not a guiltless pleasure. To make a real smooth and rich ice cream you need fat. So milk and cream should be full fat. If you want to make it lighter you can use low fat milk and cream, or change the milk/cream proportion and use more milk than cream but you must know that the final product will not be so rich and smooth and maybe crystals of ice will be formed in the ice cream.
Custard can be prepared in 4 stages:
- beat sugar and egg yolks together until fluffy.
- heat milk and heavy cream until boiling point.
- combine the two mixtures by adding hot milk to eggs very slowly while continue beating.
- transfer the mixture back on heat and cook over medium-low heat until custard reaches 85°C, stirring continuously.
I find it more convenient to use my stand mixer to beat sugar and eggs because it is easier to add hot milk in while beating, but you can do all the procedure using a hand mixer or a whisk. An instant thermometer is also useful because I know exactly when I should remove custard from the heat without having any doubts. If you don’t have a thermometer remove the custard when is thickened enough to coat the back of a spatula. That happens when the custard starts steaming, just before boiling point.
Custard is a very sensitive product and needs to be chilled as soon as possible after removing from heat. So you should prepare an ice bath in where you will put the bowl with the custard, stirring often until it is completely cooled. Custard should be put in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before churning in the ice cream maker.
The only thing you need after that is a homemade ice cream cone to serve this delicious ice cream and make the pleasure even greater!!
Recipe adapted by Amy Kay’s Kitchen.
Cheesecake Ice Cream with Cherries
- for the custard
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 340 gr cream cheese, at room temperature
- for the digestive crust
- 1 cup finely ground digestive biscuits
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- for the cherries
- 400 gr cherries, pitted
- 400 gr sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
for the custard
In a big bowl (with lid if it is possible) add 1 cup of the heavy cream, place a strainer over it and set aside.
Using a stand mixer beat together sugar and egg yolks until light and fluffy.
In a saucepan put milk and the remaining 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and bring to a boil stirring occasionally.
Lower the mixer speed and slowly start adding the hot milk into the sugar-eggs mixture while beating.
Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture reaches 85°C. If you don't have a thermometer remove from heat when the custard is thickened enough to coat the back of the spatula. Do not let the mixture comes to a boil because the eggs will be cooked and little pieces of the cooked egg will appear.
Quickly remove from the heat and pour it into the bowl with the heavy cream through the strainer.
Stir to incorporate heavy cream and custard.
In a big bowl add a little water and some ice cubes (about at 1/3 of the bowl) and place the bowl with the custard over it.
Let the custard over the iced water until completely cooled stirring occasionally (about 20 minutes).
Remove the custard from the ice bath, stir in the vanilla extract and put it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
for the digestive crust
In a bowl mix together the digestive, sugar and melted butter until well combined.
Put the mixture into a baking pan about 18x18 cm and spread evenly.
Bake at 175°C for 10-13 minutes.
Let it cool and break it to small pieces.
for the cherries
In a saucepan add cherries, sugar, lemon juice and water and bring to a boil over high heat.
Be careful because it will bubble up.
Lower the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes.
Let it cool very well before use.
to make the ice cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer (with the whisk attachment) beat the cream cheese until fluffy.
Slowly add chilled custard into the cream cheese until well combined.
Transfer the mixture to the ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions.
When the ice cream is ready start making layers of ice cream, cherries and digestive crust chunks until the ice cream is over. Scoop 1/3 of the ice cream in a 24x14 cm container, add spoonfuls of cherries and digestive chunks, add another 1/3 of the ice cream, make another cherries an digestive layer and finish with the last 1/3 of the ice cream. Top with digestive crumbs and some cherries syrup . Probably cherries and digestive chunks will be more than you will need.
Cover with plastic wrap and freeze the ice cream for at least 3 hours before serving.