Summer definitely made itself known this week. The heat peaked at record levels in many areas around the country and trying to stay cool became the name of the game. Seeing as I am a frosty weather kind of girl, this swelter can, in my most humble of opinions, take a much needed hike straight outta town. I prefer a sweater to a swimming suit any day of the week but that’s just me. Needless to say, I live in an area that is guaranteed to be steamy this time of the year so I need to create ways to make it through until the cooler weather reappears.
One of my favorite approaches to this is through the creation of homemade ice cream. Seriously, why buy the pre-made stuff with gosh knows what’s in it when you can easily create a delicious, you control your own destiny, homemade version that is not only healthier but tastes miles better. With cherries in season and gracing the front stands of my favorite produce sections, I simply needed to create a cherry inspired dairy treat. Watch out with this stuff; it’s seriously good. You’ll find yourself doing away with the bowl in favor of a spoon and an ice cream bucket.
Start the batch going with a quick and dirty homemade cherry sauce. Add in some of those fresh summer cherries along with a little sugar, lemon juice, and water. Bring it to a boil and cook down.
Stir in a little cornstarch, let it roll for a minute more until thickened and then remove from the heat and stick it in the fridge to cool completely.
Now for the graham cracker crust. Oh how I adore a graham cracker crust. Seriously, throw me some buttery scraps and I’m a happy camper.
Mulch up a few graham crackers, add a little cinnamon sugar and, of course, butter to the mix, and bake for a respectable 10 minutes in the oven. Set that aside to cool as well.
Time for the best part; the ice cream. Grab up a bowl and mix together a pile of egg yolks, a handful of sugar and a pinch of salt.
In a separate pan, pour in a bit of heavy cream and milk. Bring it up to a boil. Once good and hot, remove it from the heat, ladle about a half a cup out, and slowly pour into your yolk mixture whisking constantly.
Next up, grab the tempered yolks and slowly pour them back into the heated milk mixture continuing to whisk constantly. Turn the heat back on low and let it cook for about 5 to 10 minutes longer, whisking every minute or so, until it begins to boil and thicken.
Once thickened, remove it from the heat and whisk in a little vanilla and a bar of softened cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
Slide the ice cream mixture into the fridge until completely cooled. When everything is ready to rumble, you’ll pull it back out and freeze in your ice cream maker according the the manufacturers directions. I’m not sure about yours, but mine usually isn’t quite ready to eat after running through the machine. It needs a couple hours more in the freezer to really firm up well. If yours is the same way, you’ll want to give the ice cream an additional half hour in the freezer after running it through the machine to allow it to firm up just a tad more before assembly.
Ok, here comes the good part. To assemble you’ll simply add about half the ice cream to a freezer safe container, followed by half the cherry mixture and, you guessed it, half the graham cracker mixture.
Repeat the process of ice cream, fruit, graham a second time and then take a spoon and carefully slide it through your finished ice cream a few times to give it a little swirling before the final freeze. Make sure you lick the spoon when you’re finished. You deserve it.
Stick it back in the freezer and let it freeze the rest of the way.
Bring on my homemade and seriously refreshing “inside out” air conditioner. Cooler weather may not be in the forecast right now, but with a bowl of this fresh frozen treat at my side, I can handle just about anything mother nature throws at me.
Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Total Time: 1 hour 30 min
For the Cherry Sauce:
11/2 Cups Fresh Cherries, Seeded and Halved
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Corn Starch
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
1 Pkt. Graham Crackers, Crushed (About 9 Full Crackers Worth)
2 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
6 Tbsp Butter, Melted
For the Ice Cream:
6 Egg Yolks
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
1 Cup Milk
11/2 Cups Heavy Cream
8 Oz. Cream Cheese, Softened
1 tsp Vanilla
For the cherry sauce:
Add to a small pot the cherries, water, sugar, and lemon juice.
Bring to a boil and let cook for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Mix together the cornstarch with a teaspoon or two of cold water and stir it into the pot.
Let the mixture boil for one minute longer or until it begins to thicken.
Remove from heat and let cool completely in the fridge.
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
In a 9x9 baking dish, dump the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon and mix together.
Add in the melted butter and combine well.
Pat into the pan and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
For the Ice Cream:
Mix together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium pot, heat up the milk and heavy cream. When the milk begins to boil turn off the heat.
Ladle out about a 1/2 cup of the hot milk and slowly pour it into your egg mixture, whisking constantly.
Take the tempered egg mixture and slowly pour it back in with the remaining hot milk, continuing to whisk constantly.
Turn the heat back on to medium and cook the mixture until it just begins to boil and thicken up, whisking every minute or so.
Once thickened, remove it from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and the cream cheese until completely incorporated.
Chill completely in the fridge.
For the Assembly:
Once your ice cream base is completely chilled, run it through an ice cream maker according to manufacturers directions.
Chill in the freezer for about a half hour or so to thicken the mixture a tad.
Pull it out and scoop half the ice cream into a freezer safe container.
Next, pour half the cherry mixture over the top followed by half the graham cracker mixture.
Repeat with ice cream, followed by cherries, followed by graham cracker.
Grab a knife and run it through the whole mixture a couple times to help swirl the crackers and cherries into the ice cream.
Place back in the freezer and chill completely.