Friday, August 29, 2008

Perfect Late Summer Ice Cream

It's good to know someone is reading my blog, Steve S. (keep the comments coming everyone!). I mentioned goat cheese ice cream with caramelized figs on Wednesday and I thought I'd post the recipe.

We made this in culinary school and at first glance I thought it was so odd. I was just warming up to goat cheese and putting it in ice cream wasn't my idea of tasty. I couldn't have been more wrong. The tartness of the cheese with the sweet ice cream creates a perfect balance. If goat cheese is not your thing, Creme Fraiche would be a great substitute. Top it with caramelized figs and it is a perfect dessert. The ice cream recipe is courtesy of the amazing Catherine Pantsios, my teacher at the time.

Now, the question of an ice cream maker. I have this little Krups machine and I love it. I don't know why but, it is really hard to find these days.
Cuisinart makes another compact machine. We used it to make ice cream in the kitchens of the Food Network and it also works well. With both machines, you need to keep the canister in your freezer at least 24 hours ahead of time so, I just leave mine in there all the time. Who thinks a day ahead anyways?! If you want a hand crank machine, I am not the one to ask. At $49 for the Cuisinart, I doubt you'd find a manual machine that does as good of a job for such a reasonable price.

So, now you have the right machine, here is the ice cream recipe (and the figs, below). I've got tons more so keep checking back and I'll keep posting them.

Goat Cheese Ice Cream

2 cups cream
1 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
one 3-inch piece cinnamon stick
7 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
4 ounces fresh goat cheese (or creme fraiche)

Place cream, milk, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil and turn off the heat. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.

Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl. Whisk hot cream mixture into yolks, very slowly at first, until incorporated. Return mixture back into saucepan and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, just until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. Immediately strain into a clean bowl and stir in goat cheese until in melts. Cool mixture. When mixture is cool, pour into ice cream freezer and churn until frozen, according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you like your ice cream more solid, put it in the freezer for 4-6 hours after it comes out of the machine.

Caramelized Figs

4 T. butter
3 T. brown sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1 pint (about 2 cups) fresh figs, stemmed and halved

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and melt. When the butter is melted, stir in the brown sugar and mix gently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the salt and stir to combine. Add the figs and stir gently to coat with the sauce. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, just until the figs are starting to soften. Remove from the heat and spoon over ice cream.

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