Ice Cream/Frozen Desserts

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream—Zero Churning Required

This summery no-churn ice cream gets its tangy sweetness from a secret ingredient: goat cheese.

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June 17, 2020
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food & Prop Styling By Alexis Anthony.

We're partnering with California goat cheese maker Cypress Grove to show you all the ways you can enjoy goat cheese at every meal, including dessert! Here, our Absolute Best Tests columnist Ella Quittner shares her recipe for a no-churn strawberry ice cream with a secret ingredient that makes it sing.


Quarantine has made home cooks scrappier than ever.

For many, that’s meant stretching the odds and ends of groceries to limit visits to the store, and trying out kitchen projects like regrowing scallions from the stumps of used ones.

In my case, it’s also meant a lot of mix-and-match experiments between, say, the latest thing in my crisper drawer and a condiment from 1999. Consider, for example, the PB&B (that’s peanut butter with fresh blueberries, and it’s best consumed off a spoon), or last night’s dinner of a braised cabbage wedge finished with some yogurt I don’t recall stocking.

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Top Comment:
“This sounds nice, but I cannot fathom doing anything with Purple Haze except eating it straight up or on bread/crackers. I think I would prefer a plainer goat's cheese mixed into a recipe like this, but if anyone else tries the recipe as written do tell us how it is!”
— Catherine
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These experiments have led to a few misfires, to be sure, but they’ve also resulted in my best combination yet: strawberry ice cream with a ribbon of cheese.

I know, ice cream and cheese sounds bizarre—but it’s delicious. Tangy and sweet, it could pass for a distant cousin of a jam and cream cheese sandwich, or an inside-out cheesecake holding court in the freezer.

The ice cream begins with a no-churn base, made from fresh strawberries mashed into sweetened condensed milk, into which whipped cream gets gently folded. As the ice cream gains some stability in the freezer, soft goat cheese is whipped with heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, and a pinch of salt—you’ll know it’s ready when it reaches the consistency of icing.

The sweetened cheese mixture is ribboned into the strawberry base while it’s still soft, along with roughly smashed Nilla Wafers (why not?). The whole thing goes back into the freezer for another few hours until, like magic, it becomes ice cream.

In the spirit of mix-and-match experiments, I should mention that it’s a formula rife for swaps. Here are a few of my favorite ways to riff on it:

  • Try a new cheese: The recipe calls for Purple Haze, a fresh goat cheese with lavender and fennel pollen, but you could just as soon use a plain soft-ripened goat cheese. (Balance the flavor to taste with confectioners’ sugar, and the texture by adjusting the amount of cream you blend in—the drier the cheese, the more liquid you’ll need.)
  • Swap the crumbs: In place of Nilla Wafers, you could use just about any cookie crumbs, or even graham cracker crumbs. Aim for a rough, sandy texture when crushing the cookies down to size.
  • Amp up the base: Add a couple of teaspoons of freeze-dried strawberries, blitzed in a food processor, to the sweetened condensed milk for an extra-tangy hit.
  • Swap out the berries: Instead of strawberries, use an equal weight of raspberries for a twist on the base flavor.

What’s your favorite flavor coupling? Let us know in the comments.

Mary Keehn first launched Cypress Grove in 1983, after a fresh goat cheese she perfected over her stovetop quickly caught on in her Humboldt County, California community. She started out with just two goats (Esmeralda and Hazel) and zero experience, but today, Cypress Grove has over 1,000 goats and produces a lineup of award-winning goat cheeses—from their popular Humboldt Fog and Midnight Moon to the one-of-a-kind Danger Zone. In partnership with Cypress Grove, we're excited to share a totally churn-free strawberry ice cream (made with Purple Haze!) you'll want to scoop all summer long.

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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.

1 Comment

Catherine June 17, 2020
This sounds nice, but I cannot fathom doing anything with Purple Haze except eating it straight up or on bread/crackers. I think I would prefer a plainer goat's cheese mixed into a recipe like this, but if anyone else tries the recipe as written do tell us how it is!