We’re eating tart and creamy lemon cheesecake ice cream made with fresh, local lemons, cream cheese and a swirl of crumbled graham cracker.
Until about a week or two ago there was no possible way for us to make and feature ice creams or sorbets on WWE due to our lack of equipment. Then our wonderful friend Nicole swooped in and saved the day. While browsing through a thrift store, she found the exact model of ice cream maker she uses, but for about 1/6 of the cost. Lucky for me, she didn’t let this amazing find pass her by. Nope, she snatched that thing on up and gave it to little ole me! (Maybe because I’ve been threatening to make gin sorbet using her machine for the past six months & she’s hoping to avoid the hangover from gorging on it!)
In another showing of Nicole’s awesomeness, she took me over to her sister’s house, who happens to have a huge lemon tree, and we were given an insane number of lemons, fresh from the tree! AND we didn’t even have to pick them ourselves. Nicole’s sister, Penny, had already done all the work. Thanks, Penny! You rock! Hell, your whole family rocks!
Equipped with my new ice cream maker and a butt-ton of fresh lemons, there was only 1 conclusion for me to reach: lemon ice cream! I knew that I also wanted it to be a cream cheese based ice cream as they tend to be my favorite and you don’t find them too frequently out here. (In Louisiana, that was a different story.) With this in mind I set out on a google search to show me ingredient ratios to make the perfect ice cream. Recipe after recipe that I looked at was filled with a huge number of eggs and cups of heavy cream! UGH! I was already going to be adding 8oz of cream cheese to my recipe so I really didn’t want all the excess cholesterol and fat included in all the recipes I was finding.
Fortunately I then remembered the King of Ice Cream, The Perfect Scoop Author, the fabulous David Lebovitz. After perusing his site for a while I came across this recipe for pistachio gelato where he uses milk and corn starch to form a pastry cream as the base of his gelato rather than a custard of eggs and heavy cream. Perfect!
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
zest from 1 lemon
2 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/5 cups crumbled honey graham crackers, (large crumbles are good!)
In a small bowl, make a slurry using the corn starch and about 2-3 tbsp of the milk. Stir until corn starch has completely dissolved. Set aside.
Place the remainder of the milk, the sugar, the lemon zest and a pinch of salt into a saucepan and stir to combine. Place the sauce pan over medium-high heat. Allow the mixture to almost reach a boil, stirring frequently. Once the mixture has almost reached a boil, whisk in the corn starch slurry then reduce heat to a low simmer. Let the milk mixture simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes at room temperature.
While the mixture is cooling, beat the cream cheese in a mixing bowl either using an electric mixer or by hand with a spatula until the cream cheese is creamy and easy to work with. Adding about 2-3 tbsp at a time, beat the lemon juice into the cream cheese until smooth. Once the 2-3 tbsp have been incorporated, repeat this process until all of the lemon juice has been fully mixed in.
Add the slightly cooled milk/cornstarch mixture to the lemon/cream cheese mixture. Stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days until ready to churn.
Freeze the ice cream in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once frozen, remove from ice cream machine and add the crumbled graham crackers. Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, stir until the graham crackers have been distributed throughout the ice cream. Serve the ice cream immediately or place into an air-tight container and place in the freezer. The ice cream is best consumed within 24 hours. (The longer it sits in the freezer the icier, and less desirable, it will get!) Enjoy!