The hot weather in Joburg had me dreaming of ice cream in waffle cones. This led to a couple of attempted ice cream runs which ended in my grave disappointment. I couldn’t find a single flavour that appealed to me! I wanted a tangy blueberry cheesecake ice cream and couldn’t find anything remotely like it. Feeling frustrated, I decided to stop chasing my pot of ice cream gold and make my own. Since I don’t have an ice cream maker, I needed a recipe that I could churn by hand. This blueberry cheesecake ice cream sounded amazing and hit all the high notes for me.
It’s basically made up of 3 easy parts. A quick and easy cheesecake-Greek yogurt base that is blended in your food processor with fresh lemon juice and a little bit of sugar. A blueberry sauce with a splash of whiskey. And finally, crunchy chunks of waffle cone to add a delightful crunch to every mouthful. The cooling, churning and freezing process can take some time so be sure to make this at least a day in advance.
For the blueberry sauce
2 cups fresh blueberries
¼ cup sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon whiskey
For the cheesecake ice cream
225g (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed and softened
zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup Greek yogurt
½ cup half-and-half
⅔ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar or waffle cones, crushed (try these ones from Woolies)
Sugar or waffle cones
What is half-and-half?
Half-and-half is a blend of equal parts whole milk and light cream, and it has a 10 to 12% fat content. While it can’t be whipped, it adds richness without being as heavy as cream on its own. If you can’t find any half-and-half, you can make your own using 1 of these 3 mixes:
– 1/2 cup whole milk + 1/2 cup light cream.
– 3/4 cup whole milk + 1/4 cup heavy cream.
– 2/3 cup skim or low-fat milk + 1/3 cup heavy cream.
TO MAKE THE BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM
The blueberry sauce
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the blueberries, sugar and lemon zest. Gently simmer until the berries start to release their juices and break down.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, lemon juice and water. Whisk this into the berries in the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for a minute stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey. Cool completely. There will be chunks in the sauce, you can mash some of the berries if you do not want too many blueberry chunks in your ice cream.
The cheesecake ice cream
In the bowl of a food processor, combine all the ingredients for the ice cream base except the crushed sugar or waffle cone. Process until smooth then transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
Churning the ice cream
Why do we churn ice-cream? Firstly, churning will beat some much-needed air into the ice cream base. The churning will also break down large ice crystals which will have formed, threatening to ruin the texture of your ice cream. Generally, a churned ice-cream has a creamier texture.
Once your ice-cream is chilled, place it into a freezer-safe bowl or container and place it in the freezer. About 45 minutes after you first put your ice cream base into the freezer, take it out and vigorously churn it with a fork, spoon or electric hand mixer – you want to break up any frozen parts and mix everything together into quite a uniform “slush”. Return the ice cream base to the freezer, wait another 45 minutes and repeat. Then repeat one, or possibly, two more times at the same intervals. Churn only until the ice cream is thick, and about the consistency of soft serve.
Now it’s time to add the crushed sugar or waffle cone into the ice cream. Gently mix the chunks through to make sure that every bite will have a crunch to it. Then using a spatula or knife, swirl the blueberry sauce into the ice cream. Freeze the now finished blueberry cheesecake ice cream for a few more hours until hard.
The ice cream can be stored, covered, for up to 1 week in the freezer. Make sure to remove the ice cream from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving to allow it to soften up a little.
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