Mac and cheese ice cream?
You’re thinking I’ve plumb lost my mind, but bear with me.
Rice pudding is a sweet treat with rice in it, so why not ice cream with macaroni in it? Logic dictates that it just may work! And it DOES! But more on that later.
July, National Ice Cream Month, blew by me with nary a thought. Which is pathetic, because I love ice cream. Somehow, I didn’t remember how important the month of July was until we were on our way into August. So by creating a mac and cheese ice cream recipe, I am playing catch up for The Lost National Ice Cream Month of 2013.
When I first started toying with the idea of mac and cheese ice cream, I was dubious. Then, I started drawing parallels. Rice in pudding, pasta in ice cream, why not? And then I struck on my favorite childhood (and current, truth be told) ice cream flavor: blueberry cheesecake. Cheesecake ice cream is AWESOME, so suddenly mac & cheese ice cream wasn’t really much of a stretch for me. SIDE NOTE: If anyone knows of a purveyor of blueberry cheesecake ice cream that I can get my hands on in Seattle, even if I have to have it shipped, let me know! I see strawberry cheesecake ice cream everywhere but desperately miss my favorite blueberry cheesecake flavor.
I did some research online and found that recipes for mac and cheese ice cream are a wasteland…nothing. As an alternative, I looked for cheese-flavored ice cream. A couple of hits, and one from my pals at Tillamook that looked promising. Now armed with a great recipe outline, I gathered my ingredients.
One note: I forgot to include chipotle chili powder in my ingredients shot (heck, I was so excited about making this recipe that I am lucky I actually made it through). Just picture it, in your mind, at either the left- or -right-hand side of the photo.
First, cook your pasta (I went with the classic elbow shape, to help “define” the ice cream and what one would be eating) one minute shy of the package directions. Drain, then set aside.
While your elbows are cooking, make the sweet chipotle Sriracha sauce. In a small, microwave-safe bowl (I used a Pyrex custard cup), drop in the apricot preserves. Heat the preserves in the microwave on high for 30 seconds. Give the preserves a good stir, then add the Sriracha and chipotle chili powder and stir to combine. Cover and set aside.
If you haven’t already, shred your luscious extra sharp cheddar cheese. I used Tillamook’s Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar for this recipe.
Separate your eggs. I see a nice fluffy egg-white omelet in my breakfast future, as the yolks are all you need for this recipe.
In a food processor, combine the salt, sugar and egg yolks. Process (don’t pulse) until the mixture is light yellow and thickened, about three minutes. Set aside while you work on the next step.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the half and half until it comes to a simmer. Bring the half and half saucepan over to the food processor and turn the processor on. Slooooooooowly add the hot half and half to the egg yolk mixture, streaming the hot liquid in slowly while continuing to process.
Stop the food processor and pour the entire contents of the processor back into the medium saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring, until the custard thickens slightly – about five minutes. DO NOT ALLOW THE CUSTARD TO BOIL (I don’t mean to yell at you, but it is really important).
Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the cheddar cheese. Once the cheese is completely melted, add in cream and vanilla, then pasta and stir until combined. Place mixture in a bowl and cover, refrigerating until completely cooled.
Now it is time to bring out the big guns! Freeze in your ice cream maker per manufacturer’s instructions. For me, this was about 25 minutes. Here’s the progression.
Looks pretty amazing, right? Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-proof container (I used a Ziploc plastic container) and freeze overnight.
When you’re ready to serve your ice cream, remove it from the freezer and allow it to sit for about ten minutes. Then, dish it up and don’t forget to drizzle some of the sweet chipotle Sriracha sauce on top! Mmmmmmmmmmmm.
So how was it? Like a really rich cheesecake ice cream but with a hint of a ricotta finish. The richest, creamiest ice cream I have tasted – it was downright velvety. Truly, an amazing flavor and texture combination! Four and a half elbows up. The sweet chipotle Sriracha sauce added another dimension of flavor and cut through the rampant creaminess of the ice cream. It also allowed for a great, heated finish at the back of the throat. Yum doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Here is my recipe, inspired by Tillamook.
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- ¼ cup apricot preserves
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 4 ounces dried pasta (I used elbows)
- 7 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups half and half
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar, shredded
- Cook pasta one minute shy of package directions. Drain, then set aside.
- In a small, microwave-safe bowl, heat apricot preserves in the microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir, then add Sriracha and chipotle chili powder and stir to combine. Cover and set aside.
- In food processor, combine salt, sugar and egg yolks. Process (don't pulse) until mixture is light yellow and thickened, about three minutes. Set aside while you work on the next step.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat half and half until it comes to a simmer. Bring half and half saucepan over to food processor and turn the processor on. Slowly add hot half and half to egg yolk mixture, streaming the hot liquid in slowly while continuing to process.
- Stop food processor and pour the entire contents of the processor back into saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring, until custard thickens slightly.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in cheddar cheese. Add in cream and vanilla, then pasta, and stir until combined. Place mixture in a bowl and cover, refrigerating until completely cooled.
- Freeze in ice cream maker per manufacturer's instructions.
- Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-proof container and freeze overnight.
- When you're ready to serve your ice cream, remove from the freezer and allow to sit for about ten minutes. Don’t forget to drizzle some of the sweet chipotle Sriracha sauce on top.
- Serve and scarf down immediately!
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