There was a time when the acceptable answer to the popular question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was doctor, lawyer or police officer. I suppose those answers are still the ones parents hope for, especially the first two in Asian households. However, I never answered that question how my parents expected. Nope. While my older sister declared lawyer as her profession of choice, I didn’t skip a beat by stating I’d be an ice cream lady. I know my intentions were not ideal to sustain a prosperous career (I wanted to be an ice cream lady to have access to endless cones, Popsicles and novelty treats for my personal indulgence), but hey, what can you expect from a five-year-old? And really, what little kid wants to be a lawyer? That’s absurd! So to say the least, my parents were a bit concerned of where I’d be headed. Not in a bad way, but a traditional Asian family should have at least a doctor or lawyer in the old days. Yes, that’s what the world needs – another Dr. Le. Did I tell you that’s my maiden name? I didn’t make it up, and I’m glad because it fits the story so well.
Fast forward to 2016. We now live in a society where aspiring to be in the food industry isn’t some kind of irrational goal. It’s not judged with as much scrutiny and to take a leap of faith with a more unique food job is applauded. You can tell someone you’re hosting a pop up restaurant and people ooh at the notion they’ll get to dine on something special. You can start a home baking business that people flock to because they support local entrepreneurs. You can even announce your plan to launch a food truck, and no one bats an eye because there’s nothing else society needs more than a passionate chef, of any experience level, whipping up their own concoctions that make you crave another visit.
My friend recently chatted with me about her daughter’s kindergarten graduation. The kids were asked to share what they wanted to be when they grew up. My friend’s daughter, the smart gal she is, stated she wanted to be a cell doctor just like her mom. Oh kids, it’s so funny the names they give professions, but in all fairness, my friend does work on cells often as part of her workload. Anyways, she shared with me that one particular child wanted to start a food truck on the strip. How she knows about the strip, I assume she’s talking about the Vegas one, I don’t know. But it dawned on me that wanting to be a food truck owner is no longer considered odd. Food experiences have evolved, thank goodness! So my longtime dream of becoming an ice cream lady should fit in today’s society. Perhaps I was always an innovator and forward thinker. Boy, I was wise at age five.
Now I leave you with a dessert that lives up to my childhood dream of being an ice cream lady. This no-churn cheesecake ice cream is delightful with its speckles of vanilla beans and creamy texture. I used a couple fat-free ingredients, but you can exchange them for full-fat versions. This ice cream is already creamy, so I suspect the alternative will produce an even more luscious finish.
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 (14 oz) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (8 oz) pkg fat-free cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 vanilla bean
- 6 sheets cinnamon graham crackers, crushed
- In a bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until sturdy peaks form.
- In a separate bowl, add the sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese. Use a knife to slice the vanilla bean in half and scrape the beans into the bowl. Beat the mixture until smooth.
- Pour a third of the cream cheese mixture into the whipped cream and fold with a spatula. Repeat, one third at a time, until the mixture is fully combined.
- Alternate layering the ice cream mixture with crushed graham crackers in a metal loaf pan. Finish with a layer of graham crackers. You can also reserve some of the graham crackers to sprinkle on top when served.
- Freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.