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Jul 20, 2005 04:52 AM

Cream Cheese Ice Cream...yet another basic recipe

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Well, we can add this to the no-cook, quick-and-easy list of ice cream bases.

I adapted this from a recipe on that used way too little lemon and way too much cream cheese.

-8 oz cream cheese, any fat concentration you like
-3/4 cup milk, any kind (I would use a whole cup next
-1/2-3/4 cup sugar time)
-the juice of at least 3 large lemons or 4-5 limes (I used a combination)
-the zest of 3 large lemons (I'm sloppy and probably don't get as much out of each lemon as I could, but this was roughly a tablespoon)

Put all the ingredients in a blender, and blend until very well combined. Churn in ice cream maker until thick and fluffy. This makes a very dense, shockingly white ice cream--whiter than vanilla! It's really quite gorgeous. The zestiness of the lemon pairs well with the tang of the sour cream. Comments about the original recipe said the ice cream tasted like a stiff frozen cheesecake. I think with these proportions that characteristic is very much reduced and the result is a dense ice cream that is ready to eat fairly soon after coming out of the ice cream machine; this one was perfectly serviceable right out of the machine, and perfect after two hours.

A great choice for when you don't want to cook and chill a custard base, but still want that rich creamy taste (dare I say, almost like gelato?). Plus, as much as I loved krissywatts' vanilla recipe, this one uses no raw eggs so I don't have to worry about freshness issues!

I noticed this did not leave a film on my tongue, even though it's very rich. I bet nonfat versions of all the ingredients would still taste fabulous, though I used nonfat cream cheese and whole milk for this batch.

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  1. Sounds wonderful, and probably would be a great graham cracker pie filling also in the summer.

    1. Husbands b-day today and wanted to make some ice cream with homemade shortbread cookies - will be doing this!! Thanks nooodles - I think I'll try a key lime version (his favorite). I'll report back soon!

      2 Replies
      1. re: krissywats

        mmm, shortbread cookies! Have you posted the recipe here? I've been searching for a good lemon shortbread cookie recipe, or at least a shortbread cookie recipe to which I could easily add lemon juice/zest.

        I think this ice cream would work well with shortbread, especially fresh out of the machine while it's still soft. Today, it's more like ice cream and less like gelato. I hope your husband enjoys and has a happy birthday!

        Here's my attempt at a different photo style: one huge gob, no garnish.


        1. re: nooodles

          Oh, I love that photo!...very surrealism. A few small rosemary sprigs sprouting up would make it look like a snowy mountain. Or put something round in the middle to make it look like an eyeball. Very macabre...

      2. Thanks for the report, nooodles. Sounds interesting, although I probably won't try it since I'm not a big fan of cream cheese. I did perk up w/ your gelato comment though.

        For the sake of not starting a separate thread, let me add that I made a vanilla ice cream the other day aiming for that luxurious, dense gelato texture. I'm not calling it gelato b/c I used half and half that I needed to use up, but will try it w/ whole milk next time and have a hunch it will be quite successful. It was so delicious that I didn't want to stop and take a photo before we devoured it. I'm not going to give details of the recipe b/c I haven't perfected it quite yet, but here's what I'm learning about producing gelato at home:

        1. Some sort of stabilizer/emulsifier is essential. I have seen recipes using the following: egg yolks or whites, cornstarch, gelatin, corn syrup. I'm aiming for 1-2 yolks (or 1 egg) per 2 c. of milk. I may try cornstarch or corn syrup later if I'm not successful w/ egg alone, but I'm very skeptical about gelatin.

        2. Really important to chill well, at least overnight, so that the base spends as little time in the ice cream machine. This incorporates as little air as possible.

        3. Watch the ice cream while it's churning! It starts out very creamy and then at one point will start to look more grainy. Turn off the machine at this point. Because the custard was well-chilled, it only took about 5 min. for 2 c. of base.

        4. You can serve right away but it's fine to freeze. Just make sure that it sits out to soften. Ideal temp. for serving gelato is around 15F.

        I'll keep y'all posted on what happens when I sub in milk for half and half, at which point I'll proudly call it gelato!

        4 Replies
        1. re: Carb Lover

          I posted about this in another ice cream thread, but another possible emulsifier (if you don't have luck with egg alone) is non-fat milk solids. Evaporated skim milk or powdered milk both provide this.

          Just something to think about--I look forward to the perfected recipe!


          1. re: Smokey

            Oh, thanks for the tip. You know, I think I may have come across that somewhere but forgot about it. I've only done a little web searching, but I've been trying to figure out what gelaterias use for their emulsifier. Often times, you see someone pouring a powdered secret mixture into the machine w/ the dairy base, and I do wonder if it usually contains powdered milk.

            We have a gelateria in town that I tried for the first time the other day to compare to my favorite old-fashioned ice cream joint. The texture was so unbelievely silky yet dense. Flavor was very concentrated (I got guanduja) and sweeter than ice cream. I liked how it wasn't as ice cold as ice cream. I really liked it but wouldn't say it's superior to higher fat ice cream, just different.

            One marketing ploy is they really highlight how gelato is about 4-8% fat while ice cream can be anywhere from 18-25%. I can see that, but this stuff had tons of sugar and total carbs, I'm sure. It also had a slightly sticky texture and didn't melt very quickly. I think I need to go back for more research. :-)

            1. re: Carb Lover

              I also agree about the use of powdered non-fat milk. I've used it in gianduia gelato - the texture was incredible.

              1. re: meta

                Thanks for vouching for the powdered milk and for correcting my misspelling of gianduia. Might you still have that recipe handy?

                I did a bit more "research" at my gelato place and talked w/ the staff to see if I could get some secrets. The woman couldn't tell me much, but they had some commercially packaged pints that had an ingredient list. The gianduia did have some egg yolks, 7g of fat for 1/2 cup, and about 170 calories. Not low calories but low fat. The strawberry yogurt flavor that I got tonight was great!

        2. I have made this a few times myself. My favorite way to serve it is with a fresh strawberry sauce and homemade graham crackers. It is good!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Becca Porter

            Good to know; I was going to throw some frozen strawberries into the blender but forgot. Imagine the pretty color!

            1. re: nooodles

              Actually in the Gourmet cookbook they offer a strawberry variation to this ice cream. It is delicious as well.

          2. I realize this is a an old thread, but I am wondering if the basic cream cheese/milk/sugar formula could be used for other flavour variations. Does the lemon juice have any magical chemical properties, or can it be omitted? I would like to use the recipe as a base for non-fruit flavours that wouldn't go with lemon. Like say dulce de leche or oreo cheescake ice cream.