Backcountry Blackberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (#53-E)

17 03 2013

Admit it.  Some of you didn’t think I’d be posting more ice cream recipes after finishing 52 Scoops.  But as promised, here’s another!

A few weeks ago, prior to this HUGE deluge of Vancouver rain, the Official Taster and I, along with our friend Jason, thought it’d be fun to head up one of the local mountains and build an igloo.  Yes, an igloo.

I hadn’t grown up camping, let alone snow camping.  The Official Taster introduced me to this activity just a few years ago, and let’s just say my first snow camping experience was rather… epic.  New Years Eve, 2009/10.  Mount Seymour.  22 hours of rain and sleet.  Two people who were sent down around midnight because they wouldn’t have lasted the night.  Huddling under a tarp in the morning hoping for a break in the weather so we could pack up and haul all our gear, plus the evacuees’ abandoned gear, down the mountain.  I think my body needed three days to recover after that!

But I’ve since grown to love snow camping.  Because when you can fall asleep to something like this…

winter camping

Mount Seymour. Photo courtesy of Peter G.

… Or wake up to something like this…

Mt. Strachan, Cypress Provincial Park

Mt. Strachan, Cypress Provincial Park

… It’s pretty amazing.

And when you introduce a snow saw to your arsenal of winter gear, it gets even more fun.  Because you can play around and cut out sleeping platforms like this:

Sleeping platform cut into a huge snow bank.  Mt. Strachan, Cypress Provincial Park, West Vancouver.  (Photo courtesy of Dave F.)

Sleeping platform cut into a huge snow bank. Mt. Strachan, Cypress Provincial Park, West Vancouver. (Photo courtesy of Dave F.)

Even better, you can cut blocks to build igloos, as the O.T., Jason, and I did recently:

building igloo

The Official Taster laying igloo blocks. Black Mountain, Cypress Provincial Park, West Vancouver

igloo, winter camping

The finished igloo!

Knowing we were going to be building a warm, cozy snow shelter, Jason had suggested we might as well get fancy with food – why not churn a batch of ice cream up on the mountain?

A half-pint jar of custard and my half-pint Baby Donvier wouldn’t add that much weight to my backpack, and since I had some leftover blackberry puree from my blackberry escapades last summer and a block of cream cheese in the fridge, an egg-free Blackberry Cheesecake Ice Cream it was then!

Donvier half pint ice cream maker, blackberry cheesecake ice cream, blackberry ice cream

Churning out a mini batch of ice cream in the backcountry.

As expected, the ice cream did not firm up as much as it usually does when I churn it at home, since the inner frozen cylinder — though packed in the snow while we were busy igloo building — was not at its optimal ultra-cold temperature.  But after two and a half hours of cutting, hauling, shaping, and stacking blocks, we were hungry and happy to have a treat to enjoy, even if it was a bit on the soft side.

Backcountry Blackberry Cheesecake Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

2 cups of strained blackberry puree (about 4 cups of fresh or frozen berries)
250 g cream cheese, softened
Juice of half a lemon
3/4 cup white sugar (adjust to taste; depends on the sweetness of your berries)
2 cups half-and-half cream

  1. Puree the blackberries at low speed in a blender.  Strain the puree through a sieve to remove all the seeds.  You should have about 2 cups of puree.
  2. Place the cream cheese in the (now empty) blender.  Add half of the blackberry puree and blend at medium speed.  Scrape down the sides.  Add the remaining blackberry puree and blend some more.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and give everything a good whirl, until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  5. Churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.
inside igloo with ice cream

Jason, the Igloo Builder and Guest Taster, says: “This tastes pretty good!”





Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (#19-E)

19 07 2012

Since I come from a family that LOVES food and cooking, I started playing around in the kitchen at quite an early age.  One of my earliest memories of “baking” was mixing together random amounts of butter, flour, milk, and baking powder, forming a few crude biscuits, popping them in the oven (a REAL oven, not an Easy Bake), and excitedly offering them to my dad when he came home from work.  And yes, he ate them (thanks Dad!)… even though I’m sure they were dense little pucks with a flakiness rating of zero.  Luckily, with some guidance from my parents, my baking skills steadily progressed and by grade 6, I could make some pretty mean cheesecakes — double chocolate, pumpkin, citrus, rocky road, and raspberry to name a few.  Raspberry cheesecake was probably my favourite.  With raspberry season in full swing, I thought it’d be the perfect time to reinvent one of my favourite childhood desserts into an egg-free ice cream recipe.

fresh raspberries

Fresh raspberries at Granville Island Market

Raspberries might look sweet and delicate, but they have surprisingly bitter seeds.  For this recipe, be sure to strain out the seeds from the raspberry puree.  I admit I had a moment of laziness in the test kitchen.  I neglected this step and used 2 cups of raspberry puree that included seeds.  The resultant ice cream was okay but it seemed to lack berry flavour and had somewhat of a bitter aftertaste.  I was more diligent during Round #2 of testing, whirling the berries in a blender at low speed to break them up, and then pressing the puree through a sieve to remove all the seeds.  I realized I needed almost twice as many berries than I had previously used in order to get two cups of seedless puree — half the volume of the berry puree was, in fact, those pesky bitter seeds!  This explained the lacklustre, tannic flavour of the first batch of ice cream.  So I will emphasize again: strain out the seeds for ultra berry-liciousness!

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream is absolutely perfect for summer — sweet, tangy, refreshing, and PINK!  Enjoy and eat often!

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

2 cups of strained raspberry puree (about 4 cups of fresh or frozen berries)
250 g cream cheese, softened
Juice of half a lemon
3/4 cup white sugar (adjust to taste; depends on the sweetness of your berries)
2 cups half-and-half cream
Graham cracker crumbs for garnish (optional)

  1. Puree the raspberries at low speed in a blender.  Strain the puree through a sieve to remove all the seeds.  You should have about 2 cups of puree.
  2. Place the cream cheese in the (now empty) blender.  Add half of the raspberry puree and blend at medium speed.  Scrape down the sides.  Add the remaining raspberry puree and blend some more.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and give everything a good whirl, until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  5. Churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. If desired, garnish with graham cracker crumbs.
bowl of raspberry cheesecake ice cream

The Official Taster says: “Should I say something cheesy?”








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