Foods & Culinary

No need to pay $ 12 for mac and cheese ice cream. Instead, do it yourself.

A few nights ago, I had the pleasure of stopping by the Palizzi Social Club – a centenary Italian members-only eatery in South Philly – for an after-dinner drink. At the bar, my friend suggested between rounds that since we had already eaten we should order Palizzi’s famous dessert instead. Shortly afterwards we dug into a big old piece of Mom’s Ricotta Cheese Pie: rich, crumbly, flavorful, salty and sweet, with an almost hearty almond crust. With an Amarena cherry on top, the cake – a dessert complemented by the hearty taste and creamy texture of cheese – was the perfect evening.

Cheese and sugar – or creamy richness enhanced by sweetness – are a heavenly combination, but you wouldn’t know based on the outrage people registered when Van Leeuwen announced its limited-edition Kraft macaroni and cheese ice cream. The chorus of voices reacted with confusion and disgust and even outrage. “Cheese ice cream?” Hoda Kotb said with a grimace on the show she hosted along with Jenna Bush Hager. Kotb visibly winced when she tried it and added, “It just doesn’t ring me.” Stephen Colbert was more ambiguous and said shyly, “It is hpening. “The cut, however wrote what many people thought, “This is what greets you at the gates of hell.”

It’s strange that the combination of cheese and sugar creates so much ridicule. What can’t you love about a rich, salty ingredient made for a sweet after-dinner course?

Take a look at the most famous cheese dessert: the cheesecake. Most are made with real pounds of cream cheese and cups of sugar and little else besides eggs, but you rarely hear people complain that cheesecake is the devil’s dish. Then there are the rich ricotta cakes, the delicious cannoli, the spicy cheese blintzes with fruit jam – there is nothing to see here, but delicious treats for all occasions. Have you ever had fruit and cottage cheese for breakfast? Have you ever enjoyed a piece of baked brie with raspberry jam at a cocktail party? Don’t you eat ple pie and cheddar cheese on the holidays? Or Ras Malai with cardamom flavor? Or hot, melting Kanafeh with crispy puff pastry and sweet rose syrup? Cheese shows up in dozens of desserts and cultures, and that’s because rich, cheesy things taste good when made a little sweeter.

There is a very special kind of disgust for any ingredient in ice cream that is conspicuously spicy or otherwise controversial. There was similar doubt and confusion in the early hours of the morning when scoop shops in the US started experimenting with flavors like corn and green tea. But ice cream – because of its milky ingredients alone – is the perfect basis for the rich, spicy addition to cheese. Ice cream can be too sugary and drab, and cheese offers a hearty balance to its potentially sweet sweetness. In the Philippines, brands such as Magnolia and Selecta make cheese and ube ice cream, as well as cheese and corn ice cream, sometimes with real cheese cubes flavoring goat and cow milk. Even the American brand Cold Stone Creamery sells a kind of cheese ice cream: their type of cheesecake is made with cream cheese flavor, whatever that means.

It’s understandable that mac and cheese might seem out of place in ice cream, especially if you think they contain real noodle pieces (which aren’t) – but don’t knock on them until you try. Like cheesecake, ricotta cakes, blintzes, and the myriad of other cheese desserts that we all enjoy at other times and in other places, once you’ve tried it or made it yourself, you may find that it actually makes sense. Here are two ways to try:

Three scoops of mac and cheese flavored ice cream in a bowl next to a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese, an ice cream scoop and two ice cream cones.

Mac cheese ice cream recipe

Makes about 1 liter

Ingredients:

1¾ cups of cream
1¼ cup whole milk
½ cup) sugar
⅓ Cup of light corn syrup
⅛ teaspoon of salt
4 large egg yolks
2 packets of Kraft macaroni and powdered cheese

Instructions:

Step 1: Combine cream, whole milk, ¼ cup sugar, corn syrup, salt, and powdered cheese in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium to high for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the milk steams or the temperature reaches 175 degrees on an instantly readable thermometer.

Step 2: While the mixture is heating, whisk the egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar in a medium-sized heatproof bowl until thoroughly mixed. Keep stirring until you have a light yellow mixture. Don’t do this step too far in advance as the sugar will burn the eggs and clump the protein together.

Step 3: Remove the hot cream from the heat and, stirring constantly, pour about a third of the mixture over the egg yolks in an even stream. This is the tempering phase; If you don’t whisk the egg mixture, the yolks will boil, causing irregular lumps.

Step 4: Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan and return to the stove, cooking over medium-low heat until the temperature reaches 170 degrees or when the mixture covers the back of a spoon.

Step 5: Remove from heat immediately and place bowl in ice bath and stir to cool mixture. The mixture tastes sweet, but the sweetness softens as it cools.

Step 6: Cover and chill.

Step 7: Strain the vanilla pudding through a fine-mesh sieve, then place in an ice cream maker. Stir until the mixture resembles a soft ice cream, about 20 to 25 minutes depending on the manufacturer of your machine. Be careful not to overtighten. This makes the ice tight.

Step 8: Freeze for 4 hours, or preferably overnight, until they are firm.


Three scoops of white cheddar-flavored ice cream in a bowl with a sprig of rosemary as a garnish.

Recipe for Mac and Cheese Ice Cream with White Cheddar Herbs

Makes about 1 liter

Ingredients:

1¾ cups of cream
1¼ cups whole milk
½ cup) sugar
⅓ Cup of light corn syrup
⅛ teaspoon of salt
4 large egg yolks
2 packets of Annie’s Shells & White Cheddar cheese powder
10 sprigs of fresh sage or 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary or ¼ cup whole black peppercorns (optional)

Instructions:

Step 1: Combine cream, whole milk, ¼ cup sugar, corn syrup, salt, cheese powder and optionally herbs or peppercorns in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium to high for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the milk steams or the temperature reaches 175 degrees on an instantly readable thermometer.

Step 2: While the mixture is heating, whisk the egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar in a medium heat-resistant bowl until thoroughly mixed. Keep stirring until you have a light yellow mixture. Don’t do this step too far in advance, as the sugar will burn the eggs and clump the protein together.

Step 3: Remove the hot cream from the heat and, stirring constantly, pour about a third of the mixture over the egg yolks in an even stream. This is the tempering phase; If you don’t beat the egg mixture, the yolks will boil, causing irregular lumps.

Step 4: Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan and return to the stove, cooking over medium heat until the temperature reaches 170 degrees or when the mixture covers the back of a spoon.

Step 5: Remove from heat immediately and place bowl in ice bath and stir to cool mixture.

Step 6: Cover and chill. When the mixture is cold, give the mixture a try – if the taste of the herbs has not fully absorbed to your liking, add more sprigs to taste and leave the mixture in the refrigerator for another 12 hours.

Step 7: Strain the vanilla pudding through a fine-mesh sieve, then place in an ice cream maker. Stir until the mixture resembles soft ice cream, about 20 to 25 minutes depending on the manufacturer of your machine. Be careful not to stir too much, as this will cause the ice to become dense.

Step 8: Freeze for 4 hours, or preferably overnight, until they are firm.

Two bowls of ice cream next to a box of Annie's Shells and White Cheddar and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Some tips for making ice cream:

Freeze a glass or metal container before adding the cracked ice to store in the freezer. This prevents the ice from melting. It becomes dense and hard when it melts.

It is important to pass the pudding through a double-mesh sieve or piping strainer to remove any lumps that might get in the way while stirring the pudding.

It is very possible to prepare the custard base a day in advance before stirring it in an ice maker to make sure it is properly chilled.

Another good idea is to put a piece of wax or parchment on the surface of the ice to prevent contact with air and prevent freezer burn.

Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your ice cream maker. If you have an appliance that uses a frozen bowl, freeze it overnight so it stays cold while you stir it.

Louiie overcome is a chef, recipe developer, food photographer and stylist and lives in Las Vegas.
Recipes tested by Louiie Victa

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