Poor cottage cheese is the butt of all jokes (no pun intended). It’s seen as tasteless diet food, yet no one wants to be called “cottage cheese thighs.” Maida Heatter’s Book of Great American Desserts should have changed all that. She discovered that puréed cottage cheese becomes as smooth and elegant as sour cream.
In Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts, Alice Medrich makes sublime tiramisù and cheesecake with “Maida’s Cream.” I don’t even bother with the full-fat versions anymore. Since puréed cottage cheese can stand in for mascarpone cheese, cream cheese and sour cream, I wondered if its richness could translate to ice cream.
Since simple is often best, I substituted the puréed cheese for the strained yogurt in David Lebovitz’s plain frozen yogurt recipe. I added some oil (since cottage cheese is lean) and a splash of vodka to keep it scoopable. The end result was pure tasting and luscious. It’s less tart than plain frozen yogurt, so it’s more amenable to add-ins, like chocolate.
It’s best eaten two hours after it’s made, or else it gets rock hard. There’s a couple ways to remedy this issue: use more sugar, prepare a custard base (try substituting 2 cups of puréed cottage cheese for the cream) or let the cold ice cream sit on your counter for 15 minutes.
Cottage Cheese Ice Cream
3 cups (681 g) 1% low-fat, no salt added cottage cheese
3/4 to 1 cup (150 to 200g) sugar, depending on your sweet tooth
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 1/2 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 Tbsp vodka
- In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients and blend for 3-5 minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides with a spatula a couple times. It’s important not to cheat on the processing time, or else the cheese won’t get perfectly smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Harden it in the freezer for a couple hours, and then eat it all!
Variation: To make fruit-swirled ice cream, have ready 1/4 cup of your favorite preserves. After the ice cream is done churning, drop a tablespoon of preserves to the bottom of the storage container. Drop spoonfuls of preserves between layers of ice cream. Don’t stir too much, or you’ll lose the swirls.
Note: Try to get cottage cheese without additives, like gums or starches. I like the no-salt added variety, or else it’s too salty for dessert (do you really need 15% of your daily sodium in one serving?). The shorter the ingredient list, the better. Friendship makes great tasting, all-natural cottage cheese, although the curds are too firm to get perfectly smooth.