When I decided to start making a whole bunch of ice-creams over summer, Nigella's cheesecake ice-cream was right at the top of my list. I love cheesecake, I love all sorts of cream cheese or mascarpone-based desserts, and I've always loved cheesecake flavoured ice-cream - but only when it actually tastes of cream-cheese. Häagen-Dazs' Strawberry "Cheesecake", for instance, doesn't taste like cheesecake, but seems to be just ordinary ice-cream with biscuit pieces folded through. Disappointment!
But back to the ice-cream at hand. In the introduction to her cheesecake ice-cream, Nigella writes that she once had cheesecake ice-cream served with a mini blueberry pie in Los Angeles. It sounded like a good combination to me! I had a family dinner on Friday night for which I needed to make a dessert, so I decided to try it out.
The cheesecake ice-cream is from Forever Summer, and I paired it with a bitter orange and blueberry tart from How to be a Domestic Goddess. I had a whole lot of blueberries in the freezer - they were cheap at Aldi last week, so I stocked up - and some Seville oranges from last year, so it was quite convenient.
The tart is a sweet pastry case, blind baked, and then filled with a creamy, eggy mixture that is flavoured with Seville orange juice and zest, and topped with blueberries which are then glazed. Sweet pastry is always hard to deal with, but I found that by keeping all the ingredients and work surfaces cold, and using a lot of flour to roll it out, the pastry didn't fall apart. Phew! After rolling out and filling the tart, I had quite a bit of pastry and filling left over, so I made a couple of mini tarts in muffin tins. You bake the filled tart(s) until firm...
... and let it cool before piling the blueberries on top.
The cheesecake ice-cream is a lot simpler than the tart. It's simply a matter of whisking up some caster sugar with cream cheese, vanilla and an egg, then adding hot milk and cooking the whole lot on a low heat until thickened. Once this has cooled down, you add lemon juice (I used Seville orange juice because I still had some) and a small carton of whipped double cream. Then it can be churned!
Mmm... check out that texture. I was actually running a bit late, and only managed to get the ice-cream into the freezer about 3 hours before we were supposed to eat it. This, however, was a really good thing, as the ice-cream was at perfect scooping texture straight out of the freezer. Usually, homemade ice-cream is rock hard because none of us can bear waiting for it to soften before hoeing into it.
Mmm... check it out! The pie was great - the bitter orange and blueberries make a lovely combination. Well done Nigella! And it wasn't too sweet or rich - a very good thing, as we'd had a massive Japanese feast for dinner, and didn't want a huge dessert. The pastry turned out quite flaky too. Delicious! However, whilst the pie was great, the ice-cream was just amazing! It had a pronounced cheesecake taste, and the smoothest, loveliest texture! Absolutely gorgeous. It's the type of ice-cream you could imagine eating a whole tub of whilst watching a DVD on a quiet night in.
I wasn't sure if the easy-scoop texture of the ice-cream was just because it had only been frozen for a short while, but the next day I had another scoop for afternoon tea, and it was just as smooth and gorgeous. It's a brilliant recipe, and I'm looking forward to making it again.