Back in 1984, Ronald Reagan passed what may have been the most important piece of legislation during his term: designating July as National Ice Cream Month, and that the third Sunday in July to be observed as National Ice Cream Day, with ‘appropriate ceremonies and activities’ to celebrate these events.
Well. If the POTUS of my high school days declared it, I believe it. Let’s celebrate some ice cream!
When the weather started to heat up, it was time to pull out my ice cream maker, but alas, my trusty old Krups maker, after 8 years of noble service, had finally developed a crack in its casing. It was time for a new ice cream maker, and found that Williams-Sonoma is having a sale on the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker with the bonus of an extra freezer bowl, which only meant one thing: getting to make double the amount of ice cream! The maker arrived on Friday, and after giving the bowls a chance to freeze for 24 hours, I was ready to crank out some new flavors of ice cream.
Also, one important lesson learned today: photographing ice cream before it gets all melty is quite the challenge, but a delicious (someone’s gotta eat it) one.
First up: Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Loosely based off the Cheesecake Ice Cream recipe that came with the ice cream maker, I knew it needed some love in the guise of a raspberry swirl. The cheesecake base is egg-free and no-cook, which makes this easy for anyone who is uncomfortable with the making of anglaises. The combination of cream cheese, mascarpone, and sour cream add the richness; the raspberry swirl is easily made with frozen raspberries and a bit of Chambord to be added to the maker in the last few seconds of churning to create a ribbon of raspberry flavor buried in a creamy cheesecake ice cream.
Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
- 1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 12-ounce bag frozen raspberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons Chambord or any raspberry-flavored liqueur
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup cold water
- In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Beat in half & half, vanilla and sour cream until combined and pour into a covered container. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
- While the ice cream base chills, take 2 cups of frozen raspberries and add into a medium saucepan, reserving the remaining frozen raspberries (appx. 1/2 cup).
- Add sugar and Chambord to raspberries and on medium heat, bring to a full simmer.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and cold water, then pour into raspberry sauce and stir until incorporated and sauce returns to a full simmer.
- Strain sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds. Fold in remaining frozen raspberries. Cover and refrigerate.
- When the ice cream base is cold, freeze as per ice cream maker’s instructions.
- Once the ice cream is ready to take out of the maker, pour in the raspberry sauce and churn just long enough to create a swirl through the ice cream. Ice cream will be of a soft-serve consistency; pack into lidded container and freeze for 2-4 hours until firm before serving.
Next up: Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream
Man-oh-man, this just might be one of the best ice creams I’ve ever made. It’s rich and deeply chocolate, not too sweet, with the hints of cinnamon, molasses from piloncillo sugar, and a touch of heat from cayenne pepper that makes it so uniquely Mexican chocolate. This ice cream base gets its intense chocolate flavor from adding both cocoa powder and dark chocolate and the resulting base is more custard-like as opposed to a thinner anglaise.
A note about piloncillo sugar: it’s a raw Mexican sugar, packed into cones; you should be able to find it in the ethnic foods aisle of your market. If you have difficulty in finding it, brown sugar is a perfectly acceptable substitute.
Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream
- 3 cups half & half
- 1 cone of piloncillo sugar (or 3/4 cup brown sugar)
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 5 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In a saucepan, heat half & half, cinnamon sticks and piloncillo to a hard simmer, turning the heat off before the cream begins to boil.
- Turn off heat, and let steep for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
- Whisk cocoa powder into the cream and bring back to a simmer.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, then add about 1/2 cup of the hot cream to the yolks, and whisk until smooth. Add another 1/2 cup of cream to the yolk mixture, whisk, then pour back into saucepan, and whisk until mixture returns to a simmer and thickens. Remove from heat.
- Add in vanilla extract, chocolate, and cayenne pepper, and stir until chocolate has melted.
- Pour into lidded container and chill until cold, about 2 hours.
- Freeze as per ice cream maker’s instructions; pour into container and freeze until firm.