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Ice cream, made from a custard with eggs, is my favorite ice cream recipe. I love the richness and creaminess of the end product. Adding cream cheese to the custard is pure genius! A puree of fresh strawberries was used to flavor this cream cheese custard, as a perfect summer flavor. I also baked a cheesecake crust, on a ¼ sheet pan, and added the bits of crust to the churned ice cream. This captures the perfect sweetness of cheesecake, with a little added crunch from the graham crackers. This flavor is a sure winner, if I do say so myself. (This recipe is adapted from Joy The Baker.)
|I cup whole milk|
|1||cup heavy cream (or use 2 cups half-and-half)|
|½||vanilla bean or 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract|
|4||ounces cream cheese, room temperature|
|3||large egg yolks|
|⅔||cup granulated white sugar|
|⅔||cup strawberry puree (sauce)|
|1||cup fresh strawberries, chopped (optional)|
|For the Strawberry Puree (Sauce):|
|2||pints fresh strawberrys (or 1 - 20 ounce bag of frozen unsweetened strawberries)|
|¼ - ⅓||cup granulated white sugar, or to taste|
|Freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional|
|Optional Cheesecake Crust:|
|¾||cups graham cracker crumbs (5 graham crackers)|
|3||Tablespoons cup butter, melted|
To make the strawberry puree: Set aside 6-8 strawberries, and puree the rest in a blender until smooth. Otherwise, place the unsweetened frozen strawberries in a large bowl and thaw. This may take a few hours. Once thawed, put the strawberries and their juice in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process the berries until they are pureed. Pour the puree into a 2 cup measuring cup. You should have about 1 1/4 cups of puree. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar to start and stir until the sugar dissolves. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Can also add a little lemon juice to taste (and I recommend this). Store covered in the refrigerator for one week. The sauce can also be frozen. For the graham cracker "crust": Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar with a fork. Press into a 1/4 sheet baking pan and bake for about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Makes approximately 1 1/4 cups (300 ml). Preparation time 10 minutes. For the Ice Cream: In a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the whole milk/heavy cream (or half-and-half) and the vanilla bean (if using) to the scalding point (the milk begins to foam up). Remove from heat, take out the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds from the bean with the back of a knife, and mix the seeds back into the half-and-half. NOTE: I use vanilla bean paste, and I add that directly into the milk. A true time saver! Meanwhile in a stainless steel bowl beat the cream cheese, egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy (about two minutes). You can do this with a wire whisk or I like to use a hand mixer. Gradually pour the scalding milk/cream into the whipped egg yolk mixture, making sure you keep whisking constantly so the eggs do not curdle. If any lumps do form, strain the mixture. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until the custard thickens enough that it coats the back of a spoon (170 degrees F) . NOTE: I cook my custard over direct heat, constantly stirring, and being sure that it doesn't come to a boil. (The term 'coat a spoon' is a technique used mainly as a way to test when an egg-based custard or sauce is done. A spoon, usually wooden, is placed in the custard and, when the spoon is raised, the film of custard on the back of the spoon will stay in place even when you draw a line with your finger through the middle of the custard.) Immediately remove the custard from the heat and continue to stir the custard for a few minutes so it does not overcook. At this point stir in the vanilla extract, if using, and the strawberry sauce (puree). Cover and let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate the custard until it is completely cold (several hours but preferably overnight). Transfer the cold custard to the chilled container of your ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once made, cut the reserved fresh strawberries. Taste them, and add a little powdered sugar if they are a little on the tart side. Stir them in to the churned ice cream. Add about 1/4 cup of the graham cracker crust and gently fold it in. As you transfer the ice cream to a chilled container, add a layer of graham cracker crust and store in the ice cream in the freezer. If the ice cream becomes too hard place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving so it can soften-- or let is sit on the counter for about 15 minutes. Enjoy! We sure did! Makes about 3 cups. Preparation time 40 minutes. Optional Cheesecake Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients together and press evenly across bottom of a inch springform pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes; cool and fill.
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