Saturday, July 2, 2011

Raspberry Cheesecake Sundaes

July is National Ice Cream Month.  Since I have a work-related interest in ice cream, I don't really need a reason to make (or eat) it, but the "holiday" provides an excellent excuse to indulge more often than usual.

The problem is that July is also Texas Hotter-Than-Holy-Heck Month (followed soon by August's You Thought July Was Bad? Month).  Most really great ice cream recipes require serious stove time, as you prep the egg custard to get that perfect, silky mouthfeel.  I have no real desire to stand over a hot stove for more than a minute or two right now.

So my challenge this month is to provide you with killer ice cream recipes that require little-to-no actual cooking.

Philadelphia-style ice cream (also known as American-style ice cream, and as opposed to French-style ice cream) does not use eggs.  It relies solely on milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings.  Unfortunately, many of my home efforts at Philadelphia-style ice cream have been, well, uninspired.   Ice cream fresh from the churn is usually the consistency of soft serve, and without the custard base, it melts fast.  It's best if you can "cure" homemade ice cream in the freezer for a few hours ... but with Philadelphia-style ice cream's higher ice content, that stint in the freezer produces a solid rock.

In short, in my experience, with Philly ice cream you have to choose between "almost melted" and "frozen solid."  There's just no in between.

Enter stabilizers ... with custard-based ice creams, the stabilizer is the eggs.  You can also stabilize the base with cornstarch or arrowroot powder (both require a little cooking, but not as much as the eggs).  But there's a magic stabilizer that requires no cooking at all:  xanthan gum.

What?  Is that some weird chemical?  No, not at all.  It's a natural sugar that is, well, magic.  Because it's used to provide volume and texture to gluten-free baked goods, it's also pretty widely available these days.

This luscious cheesecake ice cream (flavored with mascarpone cheese and just a hint of vanilla) is not too sweet.  Macerated raspberries with just a touch of sugar are a beautiful and vibrant counterpoint to the smooth creaminess of the ice cream.  Enjoy!

Raspberry Cheesecake Sundaes

A sprinkling of sugar turns the
berries into a no-fuss "sauce"
fresh raspberries
sugar (about 1 tsp. for 6 oz. berries)

Ice cream:

1 pint half & half
1 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz. container, mascrapone cheese
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. xanthan gum

Combine ice cream ingredients in a blender and blend well.  Refrigerate mixture overnight.  Right before you make the ice cream, strain through a fine mesh sieve (to remove any lumps from the xanthan gum).  Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions.  When it's the consistency of soft serve, transfer to a plastic container.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressed onto the surface, and then with an airtight lid.  Freeze for about four hours.

Meanwhile, combine raspberries and sugar.  Let the berries sit for at least 30 minutes, until they start to release their juices.  You can mash them a bit with the back of a fork.

Serve ice cream and berries in fancy dishes (because this ice cream deserves fancy dishes, and so do you!!).


Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook.


  1. Does it get any better than cheesecake flavored ice cream with raspberries? No, I didn't think so!

  2. Wendy, this is amazing stuff! Wow, I'm so glad you shared this with us. Definitely making these sundaes in the next week! Hot as hades here, too...sigh.

  3. Oh, yum (my earliest food memory is of ice cream--need I say more?). But my family may kill me if I try to squeeze one more ingredient into my food closet. Wonder if my local grocery stocks xanthan gum?

    BTW, my daughter brought me home a pint of goat's milk mint ice cream. I'm afraid to open it.

  4. Fantastic post! Strawberry cheesecake ice cream was a childhood favorite of mine, but I think raspberry is an even better idea for taste bud thrills.

    The xanthan gum is a brilliant solution to *not* using that stove in your Texas heat! I learned a lot here, Wendy. Thanks for another great recipe post. Stay cool...and Happy Fourth!

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. This recipe just sings 'Summer!!!' What a way to survive hotter than heck. I guess I have to bite the bullet and buy an ice cream maker, but I know it will pay off. Thanks Wendy!

  6. I Wendy... I am in South Dakota with my in-laws, baking in the sun, but reading about ICE CREAM (and murder). I brought a Parfait of Murder with me... Fun to read a murder mystery around your mother-in-law... makes for interesting dreams at night....

    But I digress...

    Already planning an ice cream inspired post for when I get back!

    And thank you so much for submitting to

    Hope you come back again


  7. Frustration! Nobody in town has xanthan gum--I shall have to hunt farther afield. And I need only one teaspoon! (What awful things happen if I leave it out?)

  8. Sheila - you can forego the xanthan gum, but the texture won't be quite as creamy (still dang tasty, though). And don't be scared of that goat milk ice cream. There's a pretty amazing Mexican confection called cajeta - goat milk caramel. It's incredible.

    Dave - glad you're enjoying Parfait, and thanks for putting the erecipecards site together ... it's so inspiring to *see* what others are cooking.

    Stay cool, everyone!

  9. Wendy, love this. I use Xantham Gum all the time because of my gluten-free issues. (Sheila, try a Whole Foods or make sure you ask the grocer to order it for you. They should stock it in the gluten-free or baking section nowadays.) And I adore ice cream and raspberries, oh, and mascarpone, and well, this is a winner in my book. Can't wait to try to XG in the mix. I've not used that, sticking just with eggs and creams and cheeses. Fun!


  10. Wendy, this is really delicious. I tried it on my own. I thought of trying the same recipe with strawberries. Will it be delicious?

  11. Thanks, Sunflower hearts! Think this recipe would be great with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries ... basically all the berries. :)

    Glad you enjoyed the recipe and do let me know how your strawberry experience goes.

  12. For many, eating a bowl of fresh raspberries is one of summer's tasty pleasures.