While cream cheese ice cream has a lovely tang that goes with, um, everything, you’ll want to make this ice cream for its texture. Dense, rich cream cheese replaces some of the cream in this recipe. In doing so, you replace the water in the cream with so much milk protein that the scoop gets delightfully chewy. You might not realize how important the chew factor of ice cream is, but remember, the hallmark of American hard-pack ice cream is a scoop you can bite into. My sister, who lives among shops selling soft eis and gelato in Germany, can attest to this, as it’s the thing she misses most as she licks her scoops.
You can flavor this ice cream by infusing the milk before combining it with the cream cheese. You’ll end up with the most bite-worthy ice cream on the block. The tang and texture of cream cheese also makes this ice cream the perfect foil for add-ins of all kinds. We feature this ice cream in our Gooey Butter Cake composed scoop, but don’t stop there! Fruit ribbons and ripples, carrot cake, or brownies—all will feel at home in this tangy Cream Cheese Ice Cream. – Dana Cree author of ““Hello, My Name is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Scoop“.
- Cream cheese (15%) 150g | ¾ cup
- Cream (25%) 250g | 1 ¼ cups
- Milk (40%) 400g | 2 cups
- Sugar (15%) 150g | ¾ cup
- Glucose (5%) 50g | ¼ cup
- Cornstarch 10g | 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon, mixed with 20g | 2 tablespoons of cold milk (This is my texture agent of choice)
- Cut and temper the cream cheese. Cut the cream cheese into 1-inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap, and allow it to come to room temperature.
- Prepare an ice bath. Fill a large bow! two-thirds of the way with very icy ice water and place it in the refrigerator.
- Boil the dairy. Place the cream, milk, sugar, and glucose in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, whisking occasionally to discourage the milk from scorching, until it comes to a full rolling boil. Whisk into the simmering dairy the cornstarch mixture and then cook for 1 minute. Then remove the pot from heat.
- Chill. Immediately pour the ice cream base into a shallow metal or glass bowl. Nest the hot bowl into the ice bath, stirring occasionally until it cools down.
- Mix in the cream cheese. When the base is cool to the touch (50°F or below), whisk in the softened cream cheese. Transfer to a blender and blend on medium-high speed for 1 minute, until very smooth.
- Strain. Strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into a shallow metal or glass blow. Use a rubber spatula to push any unincorporated lumps of cream cheese through the strainer, then scrape the bottom side of the strainer to collect any cream cheese that has accumulated there, whisking it back into the base.
- Cure. Transfer the cooled base to the refrigerator to cure for 4 hours, or preferably overnight. (This step is also optional, but the texture will be much improved with it.)
- Churn. Place the base into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream is ready when it thickens into the texture of soft-serve ice cream and holds its shape, typically 20 to 30 minutes.
- Harden. To freeze your custard ice cream in the American hard-pack style, immediately transfer it to a container with an airtight lid. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming, cover, and store it in your freezer until it hardens completely, between 4 and 12 hours. Or, feel free to enjoy your ice cream immediately; the texture will be similar to soft-serve.