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A scoop of custard-based ice cream

A CUSTARD-BASED ICE CREAM

Cheesecake-filling Ice Cream

With cream cheese, milk, cream, sugar, white chocolate, and egg yolks.

The recipe is inspired by one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s and Helen Goh’s cheesecake recipes, as written in their brilliant book “Sweet”. It is the best cheesecake recipe we have ever made and is much honoured by everyone. It is creamy, with the right amount of tanginess, a touch of lemon essence and a luscious mouthfeel.

This Cheesecake-filling ice cream has all the above, and at the same time, it churns and fluffs up beautifully, creating the most creamy and utterly tasty cheesecake ice cream.

This is a French-style ice cream which means that it contains egg yolks cooked with milk over the stovetop to make a custard. Making a custard is a little tricky but worth the effort for the velvety ice cream it creates.

or see:

The ingredients

Do not reduce or replace anything; everything is there for a reason.

• Cream cheese: We use the original Philadelphia cream cheese, which is our favourite and also the easiest-to-find cream cheese brand. Only use the full-fat version for a perfect ice cream mouthfeel and flavour.

• Heavy cream: use heavy cream with approx. 35% fat content. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream with 35% fat content. Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

Sugar: Use regular sugar (white granulated sugar) or a good-quality raw cane sugar (Demerara or Turbinado) which adds depth of flavour to the ice cream.

Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

• Milk: use whole milk, with around 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

Egg yolks: we use eggs in the range of 65 – 75 g; 2.3 – 2.65 oz , (this is the weight of a whole egg, in its shell), but it is ok to use larger or smaller ones. It is easier to separate the egg yolks from the whites when the eggs are cold.

• White chocolate: use real white chocolate which is made with cocoa butter; avoid the cheap fake staff which contains oil, like palm oil.  If in doubt check the ingredients on the packaging: real white chocolate contains sugar, milk powder, cocoa butter and a couple more ingredients like lecithin, and vanilla. 

• Flavourings:

Vanilla Extract: (not pictured) we do not use vanilla extract, but if you want, you can use it.

Lemon strips: peeled from a fresh lemon with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife

• Cream cheese: We use the original Philadelphia cream cheese, which is our favourite and also the easiest-to-find cream cheese brand. Only use the full-fat version for a perfect ice cream mouthfeel and flavour.

Sugar: Use regular sugar (white granulated sugar) or a good-quality raw cane sugar (Demerara or Turbinado) which adds depth of flavour to the ice cream.

Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

• White chocolate: use real white chocolate which is made with cocoa butter; avoid the cheap fake staff which contains oil, like palm oil.  If in doubt check the ingredients on the packaging: real white chocolate contains sugar, milk powder, cocoa butter and a couple more ingredients like lecithin, and vanilla. 

• Heavy cream: use heavy cream with approx. 35% fat content. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream with 35% fat content. Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

• Milk: use whole milk, with around 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

Egg yolks: we use eggs in the range of 65 – 75 g; 2.3 – 2.65 oz , (this is the weight of a whole egg, in its shell), but it is ok to use larger or smaller ones. It is easier to separate the egg yolks from the whites when the eggs are cold.

• Flavourings:

Vanilla Extract: (not pictured) we do not use vanilla extract, but if you want, you can use it.

Lemon strips: peeled from a fresh lemon with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife

Watch us making it
The recipe
Cheesecake-Filling Ice Cream
Cheesecake-Filling Ice Cream
Ingredients:
Notes:

When making ice cream prefer to weigh all the ingredients by weight. We also recommend weighing the liquids directly into the bowl/pan as you proceed with the recipe instead of transferring them from one bowl to another because this transfer causes a small -but unwanted- loss of quantity.

If you do not have a kitchen scale, follow these guidelines:
• 1 cup (US) = 237 ml | 1 Tbs. = 15 ml

• white chocolate/couverture: measuring chocolate by volume is impossible because measurements vary depending on how finely chopped the chocolate is. What you can do instead is to calculate the number of pieces you need based on the weight of the chocolate bar as written on the packaging. Alternatively, you can measure the white chocolate melted: 200 g; 7 oz of melted chocolate is 2/3 cup (160 ml).

• sugar: measuring sugar in tablespoons is more accurate than measuring it in cups. Use a 15 ml measuring tablespoon (not a regular one); this is 13 gr of sugar. To measure correctly, each time you scoop the sugar, level it with the flat side of a knife.

• milk and cream: thoroughly scrape with a rubber spatula any residues left on the sides and bottom of the cup every time you measure something and empty it.

Note that the quantities in each measuring system (grams, ounces, and cups) in our recipes may not be accurate conversions, while any deviations you may notice do not affect the outcome.

This recipe makes a 1.2 litre/quart ice cream mixture (before churning), perfect for ice cream makers with a capacity of 1.5 and up to 2 litres/quarts (like Cuisinart ice cream makers).

If you need to scale the ice cream mixture up or down, use this ratio of the ingredients (in weight only): 

white chocolate 6.8% /  egg yolks 6.8%  /  heavy cream 10.2%  /  milk 27.1 %  /  sugar 12.3%  /  cream cheese 36%  /  vanilla extract 0.8%

in desired total weight of ice cream mixture,

and roughly 2 lemons strip, 3-cm long each

For example, if you want to make 1000 g (approx. 1 litre) of ice cream mixture, you need:

• 1000 g x 6.8% = 68 g white chocolate

• 1000 g x 6.8% = 68 g egg yolks

• 1000 g x 10.2% = 102 g heavy cream

• 1000 g x 27.1% = 271 g whole milk

• 1000 g x 12.3% = 123 g sugar

• 1000 g x 36% = 360 g cream cheese

• 1000 g x 0.8% = 8 g vanilla extract

and 2 lemon strips, 3-cm long each

A flexible rubber spatula is good for:
-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when you cook dairy on the stovetop.
-scraping residues from bowls, saucepans etc.

If you do not have one, we strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one. 

Instructions
Plan ahead:

The ice cream mixture needs to cool completely before churning, so prepare it in advance (approx. 8 hours before) to give it time to chill in the refrigerator. 

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Step 1: Make the ice cream mixture

Place a rubber spatula and a whisk on a plate next to the stovetop to have them ready to use interchangeably.

Prepare the egg yolks: put the egg yolks (4 egg yolks) in a medium heatproof bowl, and whisk them lightly to break them down. Set the bowl next to the stovetop.

Pour the cold heavy cream (120 g; 4.2 oz) into a jug and set it nearby. If you do not proceed with the recipe immediately, put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

Warm the milk and the sugar: place the milk (320 g; 11.3 oz) and the sugar (145 g; 5.1 oz) in a medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat, often stirring, until the sugar dissolves.

Pour the warm milk into the egg yolks: when all the sugar dissolves and the milk is hot and steamy, remove it from the heat and slowly ladle the warm milk over the egg yolks with one hand while whisking them vigorously with the other hand to temper them.

Cook until thickened: pour the tempered yolks & milk back into the saucepan and over medium-high heat. Cook, constantly stirring with a rubber spatula and scraping the bottom of the saucepan to prevent the custard from scalding. Maintain a medium temperature, do not let it come to a boil.

Remove from the heat when the custard starts to thicken (82ºC / 179 ºF / when it thickens to coat the back of a spoon / when you tilt the saucepan, a layer of thickened custard appears to form on the bottom).

Pour the cold heavy cream into the saucepan with the custard and immediately stir to combine (this lowers the temperature and stops the cooking process of the custard).

Add the chopped white chocolate (80 g; 2.8 oz) and whisk to melt. 

Place the cream cheese (425 g; 15 oz) into a large heatproof bowl and stir to soften. 

Add the custard into the cream cheese a little at a time, stirring until smooth before each addition. To do so, begin by stirring the custard into the cream cheese using the spatula or a wooden spoon; when the mixture loosens, switch to a whisk and continue whisking until smooth.

Blend for one minute with an immersion blender to ensure a smooth texture, pausing midway to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Add the lemon strips.

Step 2: Chill the ice cream mixture

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting the bowl with the ice cream mixture into a larger bowl and filling the empty sides with ice cubes and cold water. How many ice cubes? A tray of ice cubes (200 g; 7 oz of ice) is enough to cool down the ice cream mixture: we just need to cool it down until it is no longer warm to the touch so that you can safely put it in the refrigerator. This will take approx. 20 minutes; do stir occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. This time is also necessary for a custard-based ice cream to mature and its flavours to develop, so do not rush the cooling process.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, the ice cream mixture must be fridge-cold (4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your index finger into it).

If the ice cream mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not be able to churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy ice cream.

Step 3: Churn the ice cream

Check if the ice cream mixture is cold before churning it: it feels fridge-cold when you place your finger into it. / if you have a thermometer, this is below 12ºC / 54ºF. 

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Remove the lemon strips.

Add the vanilla extract (2 teaspoons), if using.

Stir: give it a vigorous and thorough stirring; this will allow it to churn for longer and fluff up. If it is too thick, give it a quick blitz with the immersion blender.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream makerLeave to churn until fluffed up and creamy; depending on your ice cream maker, this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes.

This ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy, with the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. The total churning time depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 30-70 minutes.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft like soft-serve ice cream. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream. It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer. So, stop the ice cream maker when thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave to churn it for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Warning: some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.
Step 4: Put the ice cream in the freezer to set

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream maker and:

· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine

· remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl

· place it in the freezer, uncovered

Place the container you are using to store the ice cream in the freezer, too.

Setting time depends on many factors; see notes below for indicative times. Do not leave it for too long in the ice cream maker bowl, or it will become too hard to remove; as soon as it sets, serve it or put it in another container for longer storage.

Serve or store: when it sets, you can serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storage.

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take:

  • 1-3 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative.

Setting time depends on many factors.

Check it occasionally (approx. every 1-2 hours: or as needed) while it is in the freezer. The ice cream is ready when it has an internal temperature of -11°C / 12°F. If you do not have a thermometer, to check if the ice cream has set, insert a round tip knife into it, all the way to the bottom:

  • when the ice cream is ready, it feels firm as you go down, but at the same time, it is soft enough to insert the knife into it; it should be firm and with the same consistency from top to bottom.
  • not ready yet: it may feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard to insert the knife into it; and likely too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. In this case, click on the next bulb to see how to make it scoopable again.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will become too hard to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the ice cream is soft enough to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -11°C /12°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the freezer bowl.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve ice cream consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. So it is too messy to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning sets it and brings it to the right consistency: scoopable and easy to serve or transfer to another container to store it.

Storing and serving

Storing: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells. 

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice cream, freezes hard in the long term. You can make it perfectly scoopable again by putting it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minuter until soft; or until its internal temperature reads -11°C / 12°F.

Instructions

The ice cream mixture needs to cool completely before churning, so prepare it in advance (approx. 8 hours before) to give it time to chill in the refrigerator. 

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Place a rubber spatula and a whisk on a plate next to the stovetop to have them ready to use interchangeably.

Prepare the egg yolks: put the egg yolks (4 egg yolks) in a medium heatproof bowl, and whisk them lightly to break them down. Set the bowl next to the stovetop.

Pour the cold heavy cream (120 g; 4.2 oz) into a jug and set it nearby. If you do not proceed with the recipe immediately, put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

Warm the milk and the sugar: place the milk (320 g; 11.3 oz) and the sugar (145 g; 5.1 oz) in a medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat, often stirring, until the sugar dissolves.

Pour the warm milk into the egg yolks: when all the sugar dissolves and the milk is hot and steamy, remove it from the heat and slowly ladle the warm milk over the egg yolks with one hand while whisking them vigorously with the other hand to temper them.

Cook until thickened: pour the tempered yolks & milk back into the saucepan and over medium-high heat. Cook, constantly stirring with a rubber spatula and scraping the bottom of the saucepan to prevent the custard from scalding. Maintain a medium temperature, do not let it come to a boil.

Remove from the heat when the custard starts to thicken (82ºC / 179 ºF / when it thickens to coat the back of a spoon / when you tilt the saucepan, a layer of thickened custard appears to form on the bottom).

Pour the cold heavy cream into the saucepan with the custard and immediately stir to combine (this lowers the temperature and stops the cooking process of the custard).

Add the chopped white chocolate (80 g; 2.8 oz) and whisk to melt. 

Place the cream cheese (425 g; 15 oz) into a large heatproof bowl and stir to soften. 

Add the custard into the cream cheese a little at a time, stirring until smooth before each addition. To do so, begin by stirring the custard into the cream cheese using the spatula or a wooden spoon; when the mixture loosens, switch to a whisk and continue whisking until smooth.

Blend for one minute with an immersion blender to ensure a smooth texture, pausing midway to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Add the lemon strips.

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting the bowl with the ice cream mixture into a larger bowl and filling the empty sides with ice cubes and cold water. How many ice cubes? A tray of ice cubes (200 g; 7 oz of ice) is enough to cool down the ice cream mixture: we just need to cool it down until it is no longer warm to the touch so that you can safely put it in the refrigerator. This will take approx. 20 minutes; do stir occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. This time is also necessary for a custard-based ice cream to mature and its flavours to develop, so do not rush the cooling process.

Check if the ice cream mixture is cold before churning it: it feels fridge-cold when you place your finger into it. / if you have a thermometer, this is below 12ºC / 54ºF. 

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Remove the lemon strips.

Add the vanilla extract (2 teaspoons), if using.

Stir: give it a vigorous and thorough stirring; this will allow it to churn for longer and fluff up.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream makerLeave to churn until fluffed up and creamy; depending on your ice cream maker, this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes.

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream maker and:

· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine

· remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl

· place it in the freezer, uncovered

Place the container you are using to store the ice cream in the freezer, too.

Setting time depends on many factors; read How long does it take for the ice cream to set in questions & troubleshooting below.

Serve or store: as soon as it sets, you can either serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storing. 

Storing: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells. 

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice cream, freezes hard in the long term. You can make it perfectly scoopable again by putting it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minuter until soft; or until its internal temperature reads -11° / 12°F.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, the ice cream mixture must be fridge-cold (4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your index finger into it).

If the ice cream mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not be able to churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy ice cream.

This ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy, with the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. The total churning time depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 30-70 minutes.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft like soft-serve ice cream. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream.

It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.

So, stop the ice cream maker when thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave to churn it for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Warning: some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 1-3 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors.

Check it occasionally (approx. every 2 hours; or as needed) while it is in the freezer. The ice cream is ready when it has an internal temperature of -11ºC / 12ºF. If you do not have a thermometer, to evaluate if the ice cream has set, insert a round tip knife into it, all the way to the bottom: 

  • when the ice cream is ready, it feels firm as you go down, but at the same time it is soft enough to insert the knife into it; it should have this same firm consistency from top to bottom.
  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to insert into it and too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Read right below how to soften it.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve ice cream consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning sets it and brings it to the right consistency, similar to that of an ice cream parlour’s.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the ice cream is easy to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -11°C / 12°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

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