Monday, May 17, 2010
Although lemon desserts remain high on the "tickles my fancy" list, the blueberry ones will always hold a special place in my heart. Blueberries are plentiful in the Pacific Northwest, where I spent my childhood, and it was there that my love of all things blueberry was nurtured. Muffins, pastries, yogurt, smoothies, ice cream,--you name it, I'll eat it if it's blueberry. Artificially flavored? I'll still go for it! You'd think that with my unnatural fondness for blueberries I'd have more blueberry dessert recipes on my blog. Sure, I could cite price and/or availablity as reasons, but the truth is they never last that long in my fridge for me to make anything with them! My favorite way to enjoy blueberries has always been fresh, and as many as I can eat in one sitting.
I modeled the Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream below on the Orange Marmalade Ice Cream I made earlier in the year, adjusting the recipe to use the entire jar of blueberry preserves I purchased. There's no better partner for blueberries than cheesecake, so I threw in a block of cream cheese to the mix and swapped out the half-and-half with milk to compensate for the added richness. I made this ice cream for friends and family members twice in the past few weeks, and both times it received high marks in the flavor department. Another plus: it doesn't freeze quite as firmly as most homemade ice creams, so it's scoopable and ready to go pretty much straight from the freezer!
Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (Makes about 1½ quarts)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 fluid oz. whole or 2% milk
8 fluid oz. heavy cream
15.5 oz jar blueberry preserves or jam (about 1½ cups)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Optional: 3 Tbl. amaretto (or desired liqueur)
Place cream cheese in a bowl (preferably one with a spout, if you're messy like I am). Slowly whisk in milk until mixture is smooth. Stir in heavy cream, blueberry preserves/jam, vanilla, and amaretto liqueur (if using). Chill ice cream base in refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or until thoroughly chilled. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.