One of the things I most look forward to about European holidays is ice-cream. I find myself hypnotised by the feast of flavours perched in the windows of gelaterias, pondering how many I could realistically fit into one holiday. On a recent trip to Spain, I tried strawberry cheesecake ice-cream and was blown away. After some experimentation back home, I now suspect the Spanish version used actual cheesecake. And although I’m never usually one to shy away from a culinary project, baking up a cheesecake solely for the purpose of using it in ice-cream seems a bit much, even for me – but today’s recipe is close: rich, creamy and bursting with summer flavours.
Strawberry cheesecake ice-cream with shortbread
Prep 20 min
Cook 10 min
Chill 2-6 hr
For the shortbread
150g cold salted butter
150g plain flour
40g icing sugar
For the ice-cream
100g double cream
200g whole milk
4 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
5 tbsp good-quality strawberry jam
Fresh mint leaves
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4, and put a large bowl in the freezer to chill. Meanwhile, make the shortbread: blitz the butter, flour and sugar in a food processor until the mix looks like fine breadcrumbs. Divide between two rectangular tins, roughly 10cm x 25cm, and press down firmly, then bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Set aside to cool completely.
Make the base for the ice-cream: mix the double cream, milk, egg yolks and sugar in a saucepan, and cook over a medium heat. Use a balloon whisk to keep the mix moving constantly, and keep cooking for a few minutes until it thickens. Remove from the hob, stir in the mascarpone, vanilla and salt, and set aside to cool, giving it an occasional stir. Once cooled, put it in the fridge to chill for about two hours.
Once chilled, put the mixture in the freezer drum of an ice-cream maker and churn until it starts to freeze. Once the ice-cream has frozen, transfer it to the chilled bowl. Break up half the shortbread into little chunks and stir it into the ice-cream; cut the other half into wedges and set aside. Stir the jam into the ice-cream, one spoon at a time, taking care not to overmix it; you want to see little ripples of jam throughout the ice-cream. Transfer the whole mix to a tub and pop it in the freezer.
If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, pop the fridge-chilled mix into a tub and put it in the freezer. Remove at 25-minute intervals to give it a brief, vigorous stir, until the mix starts to freeze. Then freeze completely.
To serve, scoop a portion of ice-cream into a bowl and serve with the shortbread, fresh strawberries and fresh mint leaves.