I’m kind-of in love with cheesecake. Creamy, decadent, and rich, it’s definitely a special treat. However, it’s not something I can justify making just for a Sunday afternoon. The challenge with making something like cheesecake is that it’s a little bit too easy to keep eating if you aren’t serving it to a crowd.
So I decided the safest route would be to make ice cream, and get my cheesecake in a more easily rationed frozen format. So I got out the ice cream maker, and started brainstorming. I thought of the sour cherries I canned in a light syrup last spring, and ended up trying to recreate New York cherry cheesecake in an ice cream. This ice cream turned out to be exactly what I wanted–rich and decadent enough have a small scoop satisfy, and with the creamy and tangy combination that I was going for.
The base was pretty simple. Sour cream, cream and eggs get cooked together with the sugar, then cooled overnight (while the ice cream maker gets chilled in the freezer). The next day, throw in a bit if maraschino liqueur of you have it (or vanilla if you don’t), and some cold milk. Since the milk never gets cooked, I ended up using raw milk. I like drinking raw milk, but use pasteurized milk for cooking. I always like to use raw milk in recipes when I can, as it is much easier to digest (and better for you) than pasteurized.
While the ice cream was churning in the ice cream maker, I drained the canned cherries, reserving the liquid. I chopped the preserved sour cherries in half, then added them after the ice cream was frozen. The ice cream comes out looking like soft serve, and needs at least a couple of hours in the freezer to harden. The liqueur in the ice cream helps to keep it from freezing too hard. If you want to create a syrup for your ice cream, you can cook down the syrup from the cherries to make a sauce.
Sour Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream
1 pint heavy cream
2 cups whole milk (I used raw milk, as this part is never heated)
16 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups raw / organic sugar
3 beaten eggs
2 tsp maraschino or kirsch liqueur (or vanilla, if you prefer)
1 cup preserved sour cherries, drained and cut in half (reserve syrup to reduce for topping)
In a large saucepan, whisk together the cream, sugar, and eggs. Cook and stir over medium heat until it begins to thicken. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then gradually beat in hot mixture. Cover and chill completely.
Stir in the milk and vanilla. Freeze in a 4-quart ice-cream maker according to directions (or two rounds in a small , then scoop into a freezer-safe container to store. Stir in the cherries. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
If you are interested in making a syrup to drizzle on top, here is how I made mine. In a small saucepan, heat the syrup from the sour cherries with 1/2 cup sugar (if your cherries were canned in a light syrup, like mine) until the mixture comes to a boil. Let it cook until it reduces by 25% and begins to thicken. Chill completely, then drizzle on top of your ice cream when serving.
You could definitely adapt this to a variety of berries–I think it would be fantastic with blueberries or strawberries. You could even swirl in a ribbon of jam in place of the cherries. In fact, I may try that next time!