Strawberry cheesecake ice cream

Up until last summer, the only marathons I was interested in were of the TV variety. That all changed when we booked a Mount Kilimanjaro climb for last fall and started reading firsthand accounts of the experience online. Would our camembert-encased hearts make it to the top?

Fearing no, we registered for a semi-marathon in Bordeaux (with a cheque in the mail naturellement) and began pounding the Paris pavement in earnest. The Friday night before our Sunday race, as we were packing our bags for an early-morning bus ride to the sleepy town of Le Porge, our iPhones buzzed with the news that the local prefecture had closed the race course due to a heightened risk of forest fire. We made the trip anyway—but instead of sweating it out on the local trails in 35+ degree heat, we spent the weekend sunning it up and eating mascottes on the beach.

A few months later, in October 2012, we did indeed reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, but it still kind of irked me that all that half-marathon training hadn't ended in a half-marathon. So, back when Canada was still an ocean away and August 2013 a lifetime in the future, a friend and I agreed to sign up for the SeaWheeze Half-Marathon in Vancouver. There's a very good chance I had a pain au chocolat in one hand (and a glass of wine in the queue) as I tapped out an enthusiastic "Let's do it!"

My running partner, who lives in Seattle sadly, recently referred to our half-marathon training as a part-time job. It definitely feels that way sometimes. If I'm not running, then I've just come from running, I'm about to go running or I'm procrastinating about running. A former accountant-in-training and admitted number nerd, I diligently track my distances and times in a tidy spreadsheet—colour coded of course. That's how I can say, with great confidence, that I deserve every last scoop of strawberry ice cream I've consumed.

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
I say "cheesecake" ice cream because the addition of cream cheese and buttermilk gives each lick a tangy kick. Next time, I plan on baking up a pan of graham cracker crust and either swirling it into the ice cream in the final stages of churning or crumbling it on top sundae-style. Since the flavour of roasted strawberries pairs so well with balsamic vinegar, I used that in place of lemon juice.

350 grams of strawberries, hulled and cut into 1.25-cm (10.5") slices
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit). In a square baking dish, lightly toss the sliced strawberries with 1/3 cup of sugar. Roast for 8 minutes or until the berries are soft. Puree the roasted berries and lemon juice in a blender or food processor, then set the mixture aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth. Set aside. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of milk. Set aside. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup. Boil over medium-high heat for 4 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from heat and slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly (about 1 minute). Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the strawberry puree (I used 1 cup and saved the rest for drizzling on top) and buttermilk, and blend well.

Pour the mixture into a 4-litre (1 gallon) freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as needed, until the mixture is completely chilled (about 30 minutes).

Process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Scoop the ice cream into an airtight storage container and freeze until firm (at least 4 hours).

Remove the ice cream from the freezer 10 minutes before serving to soften it slightly.

Source: Slightly adapted from Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream over at, which Jennifer adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.

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