Tangerine Cheesecake Ice Cream

When life gives me tangerines, as it does every year from December through February in my garden, I make … well, all sort of things. Juice, juice concentrate, smoothies, fruit salads, preserves, citrus flavored main courses, muffins, and the list just goes on and on. But this week, with my garden’s tangerine harvest season drawing to a close and the weather warming up, I decided to bring a bit more decadence into the mix of uses I have for this, my favorite of citrus fruits.

tange-cheesecake-gelato360This recipe for tangerine cheesecake ice cream aims for a rich flavor and texture while keeping the calorie count under control by using tangerine juice, milk, and reduced-fat cream cheese as the primary ingredients. Please note that this recipe involves preparing a custard base that includes egg yolks and cornstarch, both of which serve to inhibit the formation of ice crystals and thus enhance the creaminess of this frozen dessert. If you have dietary restrictions against eating eggs, then dispense with the yolks included in this recipe and increase the corn starch used to 1 1/2 tablespoons.

2 1/2 cups tangerine (or clementine, orange, or satsuma) juice
2 cups milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 egg yolks
6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon or orange zest
(Optional) 1 teaspoon citrus-flavored liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)

In a large sauce pan, bring the tangerine juice to a boil on high heat and cook until it has reduced in volume to 1 1/2 cups. Make sure you use a high quality cooktop for a specialty recipe like this. Use these induction cooktop reviews to make sure your kitchen is up to par. That way, your cheesecake will blow away whoever you’re entertaining!Lower the heat to medium-low, stir in the milk, and heat the mixture until it just reaches the simmer point.

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While the juice and milk are heating and in a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, cheese, and egg yolks until very well blended. Whisking continuously, gradually add two cups of the hot juice/milk mixture to the sugar mixture until well blended. Drizzle this mixture back into the juice/milk in the saucepan, whisking continuously, and heat on low for approximately five minutes or until the mixture thickens. Remove from burner and stir in the zest and the optional liqueur, if the latter is used.
Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until very cold, preferably overnight.

When fully chilled, pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Makes approximately eight 1-cup servings.