I love cheesecake. I love it so much I even made it my wedding cake. Basically I’m addicted to the extreme creamy cheesiness combined with just a hint of lemon all served on the simple, yet wonderful graham cracker crust. I’m also addicted to my ice cream maker. Coming up with new ice cream dishes throughout the long steamy summer helps keep me sane when the temperatures down here in Nashville edge higher and higher. So deciding to come up with a version of cheesecake ice cream is not exactly out of character for me. And given my love of cheesecake, the fact that I decided to freeze the concoction into a graham cracker crust and serve it with strawberries – well, that’s just the logical next step.
The ice cream was fairly easy. Just start with a softened block of cream cheese and whip it with the whisk attachment of your mixer. Once it’s soft and creamy you can add the sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and then – slowly – the half and half. After a run through the ice cream maker, the base’s consistency will be almost soft serve-like. Perfect for putting into a pie plate. Or if you have low willpower, gobbling it up right from the ice cream maker.
The graham cracker crust is possibly the simplest crust you can make – crushed graham crackers, sugar and melted butter are all you need. I added a tiny bit of nutmeg – but that’s because I’m also addicted to nutmeg (there must be a 12 step program for spice addicts somewhere). After a quick trip to the oven and a thorough cooling, the crust will be ready (and willing) to be filled. After a few hours in the freezer, the whole pie was ready to be cut and served. The whole thing makes for an easy summer treat – especially nice when I don’t feel like cooking a cheesecake for an hour and heating up my home. A nice ice cream pie takes care of my craving and keeps me cool. Perfect.
Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie
For the Ice Cream:
8 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
juice of 1 lemon
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c white sugar
2 cups half and half
For the crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
To make the crust – combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and nutmeg (if wanted) and press mixture into a pie plate. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
To make the ice cream – using the whisk attachment of an electric mixture whip the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sugar, slowly, until incorporated. Add in the vanilla and lemon juice. Slowly add in the half and half until the mixture is smooth. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour. Freeze the base in an ice cream maker until the mixture reaches a soft serve consistency. Spoon ice cream into cooled graham cracker crust and smooth out the top. Cover in plastic wrap and chill at least 4 hours.
To serve, remove from freezer – if pie is too hard let sit for 10 minutes. Top with the fruit of your choice.