Blackberry Pretzel Cheesecake Ice Cream

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What is it with Americans and raspberry sauce? Even today, when I think of a berry sauce, I imagine it curtained over a previously frozen cheesecake slice with a mushy graham cracker crust and a glossy bloom of canned whipped cream. “Cheesecake” is one thing, but “Raspberry Cheesecake” gets restaurant-goers acting like they’re in the lap of luxury.

But I was never convinced about the way so many desserts just add a fruit topping to something else (did you guess I was headed there?). I feel that fruit shouldn’t have to compete with the main dessert flavor — the base flavor and the accent flavors (and textures) should interact somehow, and I liked my fruit front and center, not as a complement to something else. Plus, chocolate always seemed so much more “blendy” than a gelatin-slicked can of blueberry sauce. See, this is where my opinion loses all credibility: I’m the one whose eyes glaze over when I see “Turtle Cheesecake” on the menu. So much for keeping flavors from competing.

I guess my history of just being sort of unimpressed with cheesecakes and their world of toppings (sorry, Cheesecake Factory, in proper form I DO like your lettuce wraps) makes me surprised about how much I want — no, need — this ice cream.

Blackberry Pretzel Cheesecake Ice Cream. Isn’t that just the type of flavor profile I’ve internally publicly ranted about? Maybe I just hadn’t had the berry/cheesecake combo done right, because now I’m hooked.

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I think what seems most flagrant about this recipe is the fact that I ask you to make three things–a crust, a cheesecake, and then an ice cream. Making this cheesecake, though, affords you the pleasure of picking up whole slices of cheesecake and dropping them into the ice cream machine. I’m telling you, you’ll feel like a major rule breaker as you hold the cheesecake dish over the ice cream maker, using a spoon to plop big chunks of it into the swirling blackberry ice cream.

I originally started thinking about cheesecake ice cream after checking out Liquid Cheesecake, another recipe in the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook. Instead of making liquid cheesecake, though, I put together a toasted pretzel crust (pretzels, so hot right now), with a classic cheesecake filling. And then when I think about it, maybe what I love about this cheesecake ice cream recipe is the role reversal. Blackberries are the tangy, unassuming base, and cheesecake is complimentary flavor. Who cares why it’s good though, really.

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I tried making this a couple different ways — once without the crust mixed in at all. Shockingly (not), my crunch-hating taste-tester preferred that one. I’ll give it to him, there was something about the smoother ice cream that got a bit lost in the batch I positively loaded with cheesecake AND the extra crust I didn’t use the first time around. This version is a happy medium. Smooth and cheesecake-y without being too dense, with little pockets of pretzel crunch.

You might notice that the recipe only uses two slices of cheesecake, leaving you with (gasp!) six extra slices. Eat ‘em, fool. But don’t put any canned raspberry sauce on top, okay?

Blackberry Pretzel Cheesecake Ice Cream
Makes about 7 cups

¼ (2 slices) Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust (recipe below)
16 oz. frozen blueberries, thawed
1 cup sugar
3 cups whole milk
1 cup cream
6 egg yolks

1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan whisk together sugar, milk, cream, and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thickened. The mixtures is thick enough when it coats the back of the spoon, and drawing your finger across the back of the spoon leaves a distinct trail. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve (in case any eggs have scrambled slightly) and into a heatproof bowl and let cool.

2. In a food processor or blender, purée blackberries. Pour through the fine mesh sieve and into the custard. Whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate until completely cooled, at least 2 hours.

3. When cooled completely, pour blackberry custard mixture into ice cream maker and churn for approximately 12-15 minutes, until thickened. Take one slice of cheesecake and scrape off the crust. Add only the cheesecake filling to the ice cream, and continue churning to combine. Next, add the second slice of cheesecake in pieces (crust and all), churning only until just combined, so that there are plenty of cheesecake chunks. If your ice cream maker bowl isn’t large enough. You can pour the ice cream into a bowl after adding the first cheesecake slice and stir the second slice in by hand. Work quickly, though.

4. Turn ice cream out into a storage container and freeze overnight, or at least for 5-6 hours. Let ice cream sit out for approximately 10 minutes before attempting to scoop it into bowls or cones. Homemade ice cream freezes harder than store-bought, and letting it sit out of the freezer for just a few moments brings it to the right consistency.

Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust
Adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book
1 9-inch round pie pan

1 Recipe pretzel pie crust (recipe below)
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup milk
3 eggs
1. Prepare crust and set aside to cool (see below).

2. In the bowl of a mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla on medium-high using the flat beater attachment. Add milk and beat to combine, then add eggs and beat until incorporated.

3. Pour cheesecake filling into the cooled pretzel crust and create a water bath: place filled pie pan in high-rimmed baking dish or casserole, and fill the casserole with water. Surrounding the cheesecake with a water bath allows for more even cooking.

4. Bake 35-35 minutes until the top is beginning to brown and the edges are set when you gently shake the pan. Let cool completely before using in the ice cream!! When ready to use, cut in 8 slices. Store remaining cheesecake covered in the refrigerator.

Pretzel Pie Crust
Adapted from The Southern Pie Book (Jan Moon, Southern Living)

2 ½ cups thin pretzel sticks
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup melted salted butter

In a food processor, pulse pretzel sticks until the size of rice grains. Add brown sugar and melted butter and pulse a few more times. Press mixture into an even layer in a 9-inch pie pan. Bake in a 350 F oven for 10 minutes. Rest until completely cooled, approximately 30 minutes.


  1. Wait…people use *canned* berry sauce?? Gasp.

    Well no wonder!

    I admit a slight addiction to fresh raspberry sauce, and when it appears on my dessert scene it ain’t no cameo, it’s the star. Think: drenching. :d

    I taste a summer sweet social coming on! This recipe looks amazing!

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