Goat Cheese Ice Cream Topped with Pecans and Honey

I longed for an ice cream maker for years, and last November I finally made the purchase. It was shiny and red and on sale. The sale was for good reason — who wants ice cream in November? Well I didn’t really so the ice cream maker waited in its box while I perused countless ice cream recipes searching for the perfect inaugural batch. It wasn’t long before I found David Lebovitz’s recipe for goat cheese ice cream. Goat cheese ice cream? S was skeptical. Gosh, I was skeptical. But the idea of it was intriguing. It could be a hit or a flop. So we patiently waited days, weeks, months to try it.

A View from the Top

While the first batch was spinning in its frozen canister, S and I excitedly waited nearby with spoons in hand. Lebovitz mentions that the ice cream tastes like cheesecake. And sure enough, the ice cream smelled just like cheesecake as it was churning. At last the ice cream was ready and we tried the first spoonful. Sadly, it was terrible. It tasted a bit sour and a bit too goat cheesy. But I was not discouraged. I knew I needed to find a milder, higher quality goat cheese and use a bit less of it.

Goat Cheese Ice Cream

The search was on for a good goat cheese. Once again the Matthews farmers’ market came to the rescue. There I discovered a locally produced goat cheese from a farm in Waxhaw, North Carolina called Bosky Acres. Their goat cheese has the most pleasant flavor. It’s mild, delicate, and tangy — not at all sour.

Back into the kitchen I went to try again. This time I used the Bosky Acres goat cheese and only half of the amount called for by Lebovitz. Again, we waited for the machine to work its magic, and this time that first spoonful was perfect. It really does taste like cheesecake with a hint of tangy goat cheese. Topped with honey and pecans, this goat cheese ice cream makes for a delicious not-too-sweet dessert. The moral of this kitchen tale: patience is a virtue and if at first you don’t succeed, always try, try again.

Freshly Churned

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Makes About 3 Cups
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
6 large egg yolks

1. Warm the milk and sugar in a medium saucepan. While the milk is warming, crumble the goat cheese into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.
2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the goat cheese. Keep stirring until the cheese is melted, then stir until cool over an ice bath.
4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cappuccino Gelato

I appear to be caught in a bit of a coffee paradox. I don’t drink coffee… ever. The few times in my life that I have mistakenly drunk a few drops have left me with an impression that most of America is addicted to a beverage that is impossibly bitter at best and patently undrinkable at worst. And yet… I love coffee ice cream. I find that the extreme bitterness of the drink is mellowed with the addition of lots of cream and sugar. Instead of putting a dash of cream in my big pot of coffee, I prefer to put a dash of coffee in my big pot of cream. In the humble opinion of this non-coffee drinker, coffee ice cream allows for the actual flavor of the coffee bean to show through – it is, in fact, how the coffee bean should be enjoyed.

Vitamin D milkCorn StarchInstant Espresso

So when I was flipping through my brand new big yellow Gourmet cookbook, I noticed the recipe for Cappuccino Gelato. While my trusty ice cream maker has been put to use in the service of many of my favorite frozen flavors, it has yet to tackle coffee. The Gourmet recipe was simple – since I was making a gelato, a milk-based Italian version of ice cream, I wouldn’t have to worry about tempering (and perhaps scrambling) any eggs. The recipe used corn starch to thicken the base and provide it with an an almost custard texture.

Gelato Base

The only modifications I made to the recipe were the addition of a teaspoon of vanilla and a teaspoon of almond extract. They helped round out the flavor of the coffee and paired very well with the milkiness of the final product. I only offer one warning – the cappuccino gelato is a tempting confection. It will call for you to scarf it down way past the hour when one should be eating caffeinated anything. So if you’re not used to caffeine, resist the urge in the evening hours or you’ll find yourself bouncing off the walls and unable to sleep well into the night. Not that this happened to anyone I know…

Cooled Gelato Base

Cappuccino Gelato

Adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook

2 1/2 cups whole milk

2 1/2 T. instant espresso powder

2 T. cornstarch

1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 T. sugar

1/8 t. salt

1 t. vanilla (optional)

1 t. almond extract (optional)

Whisk 1/4 cup of milk into espresso powder in a small bowl, whisking until powder is dissolved. Stir 1/4 cup of milk into cornstarch in another small bowl, stirring until cornstarch is dissolved.

Combine sugar, salt and remaining 2 cups of milk in a 3 quart heavy saucepan and bring to just a boil over moderately high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stir cornstarch mixture again, then whisk into milk mixture and simmer, whisking, for 2 minutes. Whisk in espresso mixture. ( I added the vanilla and almond extract here.)

Transfer mixture to a metal bowl and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally , then cover surface with a round of wax paper and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours.

Freeze mixture in ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.