I think it was the summer that Star Wars came out, 1970-something, when my oldest brother and sister had summer hotel jobs up in Ogunquit, Maine. Our parents drove my other brother and me up for a weekend visit and we ate a forgettable meal in the big, quiet hotel dining room followed by an unforgettable cheesecake. It was a fruit cheesecake, but instead of a shiny, syrupy layer of fruit on top of the cheesecake, the fruit was fresh, and it had been incorporated into the batter, leaving light, delicate streaks of berry throughout the cake.
This ice cream reminds me of that cheesecake, just a little bit.
1 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon zest
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
3 graham crackers, crumbled
Beat the sugar and the cream cheese together until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
Bring the milk to a boil in a medium-sized pan. Slowly beat the hot milk into the cream cheese mixture. Now pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the custard thickens slightly. Don’t let the mixture boil or the egg will scramble!
Remove the custard from the heat and pour it through a strainer into a large bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the lemon zest and cream. Cover and refrigerate until cold (or overnight).
Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in your ice cream machine
according to its directions. Add the crumbled graham crackers when the ice cream is semifrozen, and let the machine mix them in well. Eat right away, or decant into a container and freeze until hard.