It was a Saturday not too long ago at our cabin in Wisconsin; a beautiful day. It was late afternoon happy hour, and as always the trove of hors d’oeuvres were laid out on the table; Merkts, crackers, sausage, humus, veggies, olives, pickles, chips, salsa, and a classic that my mother has been eating for as long as I can remember; cream cheese and pepper jelly. It’s this one that hit me. The creaminess of the cream cheese and the subtle tartness and spiciness of the pepper jelly that cuts right through…it’s a wonderful combination. After all of these years of eating it myself, it finally dawned on me that this should be an ice cream flavor. And now it will be. So let’s get to this week’s flavor – Cream Cheese Pepper Jelly
Cream cheese! Plain old awesome cream cheese. It makes the world a better place. Also, it makes for a great ice cream as well. We add it into our standard organic cane sugar ice cream base before pasteurization. It makes for an ultra-rich creamy base that will pair great with the pepper jelly.
Next, we make our pepper jelly starting with green and red bell peppers and jalapenos. The peppers are cleaned and pureed in a food processor with crushed red pepper flakes. Cane sugar and vinegar are added. The only hesitation I had with this flavor was the vinegar in the pepper jelly, but as I mentioned in my opening, it is that subtle tartness from the vinegar that cuts right through the richness of the cream cheese.
The mixture is brought to a boil. Technically this will be a pepper syrup of sorts, because when frozen, we want our syrup to be the consistency of jelly. So instead of adding a jelling agent, we’re going to cook out this syrup to the desired consistency. To do this, we put a plate in the freezer. While the jelly is boiling, we take a spoonful out and pour onto our cold plate. The cold plate chills the jelly immediately, and we’re able to see where the viscosity is at. If it’s too runny, we keep cooking it. If it’s too thick, we pull from the heat, add a little water, and test again. We like to be able to run our finger through the cold syrup and have it wrinkle without too much effort. After the syrup is cooled and the cream cheese base is churned, we swirl in the pepper jelly.
Happy hour hors d’oeuvres in ice cream form. It’s a delightfully creamy cheesy ice cream layered with ribbons of hot pepper jelly. Perfect for a hot summer day at the cabin.
Cream Cheese Pepper Jelly
1 Red bell pepper, small
1/2 Green bell pepper, small
1 1/2 cup White vinegar
6 cups Cane sugar
1 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Sea salt
Ice Cream Base:
2 cups Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Milk
4 oz. Cream cheese
3/4 cup Cane Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Sea salt
1. Make pepper jelly: Place a plate in the freezer. In food processor, puree all peppers. In a medium saucepan combine pepper puree with remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Cook and stir until bubbles subside and jam appears slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. To test doneness, spoon a small amount onto the chilled plate. If jam wrinkles when you push your finger into it, it is done. If not, cook and stir a little longer before testing again. Let cool; cover and chill completely.
2. Make ice cream base: Crack eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk fully. Add cane sugar and whisk. Add heavy cream, milk, and salt. Whisk until ingredients are combined. Add cream cheese.
3. Cook/pasteurize ice cream base: Over medium heat, whisk or stir base continuously to break up cream cheese. Keep stirring continuously until temperature reaches 165-170 degrees. Remove from heat. Cool ice cream base to room temperature (an ice bath will do this in about 15-20 minutes). Put base in a clean container, cover, and chill in refrigerator overnight.
4. Churn ice cream base in ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Swirl in pepper jelly after ice cream is in storage container. Store ice cream in air tight container in freezer until chow time.
*Yields approximately 2.5 pints
If you’d rather not make it, you can be one of two lucky winners of this fabulous, scratch made craft ice cream in our weekly pint giveaway. Enter your name in the comments section here, or on our facebook page under the posted contest. Two winners will be drawn randomly on Friday 7/17/15 at 4pm. Winners must be able to pick up locally in Minneapolis. Prizes must be claimed by email within one week or we will redistribute. 🙂 Good luck!