Tag Archives: custard

O’ Gourmet Goat’s Milk Cheese Ice Cream (with a Fig Mangosteen Ripple!)

9 Dec

I love goat’s milk cheese. It has an incredible, lush richness, and a particular ripe tang that comes from the flavour of the milk. Its made in a huge variety of forms, from soft spreadable cheese to firm cheese that melts beautifully. It is one of the earliest known forms of dairy products, and there is something very intense and primal for me about goat’s cheese. From Greek feta to the multiple varieties of French chevre, goat’s milk cheese is always intriguing and wonderful to cook with. I particularly love a good soft chevre, accompanied by dried of fresh figs, spread on toasted french bread. This woman can definitely live on cheese alone!

Given my adoration of goat’s milk cheese, it shouldnt be surprising that I have been wanting to make a goat’s milk cheese ice cream for ages. Ice cream is a pretty simple recipe – eggs, milk, sugar – and the addition of whatever flavourings you wish. I had an intense conversation with M. Sebastien of O’Gourmet Food Hall, and he suggested a Pave de Jadis – a soft chevre, with a thick, fudgy consistency. A tad sweet, slightly tangy, with a hint of lemon, pave de jadis literally translates as “paving stone” and gets its name from the ash which covers the brick of cheese. Its a French cheese, made in the Loire valley, and it tastes of springtime, of green grass pastures and sunshine. Its gorgeous and bright, and its soft texture is perfect for making ice cream.

As I spoke with M. Sebastien, I decided that I wanted to elevate this ice cream by adding a ripple of contrasting flavour through it. I decided on dried fruit that had been poached in white wine. I first thought of a Sauternes or other sweet wine, but M. Sebastien suggested a very beautiful, light and crisp De Martino Sauvignon Blanc from the Maipo Valley of Chile. This is an organic wine, and it was perfect. It paired perfectly with the cheese as well as the fruit, and brought out the lemony notes in the ice cream. I am going to use it to poach mango with peppercorns as well (but that is for tomorrow…).

Meanwhile, I needed to find my fruit. I decided to use dried fruit because the sugar in dried fruit would add a sweet note, and confirm that this is a dessert ice cream rather than a savoury one. Dried figs from Turkey seemed to be perfect, voluptuous and golden, bursting with jammy honeyed ripeness… but then my interest was caught. O’Gourmet has a large and amazingly exciting selection of dried organic fruits that are very Malaysian – rambutan, lychee… and mangosteen! I tasted everything, and fell in love at first bite with the mangosteen. Dried mangosteen. Have you ever heard of such a gorgeous idea? All the honey mango peach tastes of the mangosteen are highlighted and intensified. Its totally delicious, and I decided then and there to mix the fig and mangosteen into the ripple.

Because I wanted a taste testing that was as broad as possible, I decided to make two batches of the ice cream – one with a fig mangosteen ripple that had been poached in the De Martino wine, and the other a ripple in which the dried fruits had been poached in a Pear and Elderflower Presse by Belvoir Fruit Farms. This sparkling juice had the same crispness and brightness as the wine, though it was a little sweeter. It gave me the chance to make a non-alcholic version of the ice cream for those who choose not to consume alcohol. Lovely!

This recipe is actually incredibly easy to make, its just that the ingredients are exotic and beautiful. Treat them with a lot of care and respect, and plan ahead. The ripple can be made up to a week ahead and stored in the fridge. The ice cream custard needs to be made at least four hours before you decide to churn the ice cream, and the ice cream must be churned at least 12 hours before you serve it to give the flavours time to ripen and bloom in the freezer. It is a dramatic and gorgeous presentation, and will intrigue and challenge your guests. I will be serving it with fresh mango lightly poached in white wine and peppercorns, which is a memory from one of my favourite restaurants from long ago… but more on that next time.

Meanwhile, enjoy this ice cream. I think its a wonderful introduction to the seductive goodness, the natural deliciousness of goat’s milk. It has an almost cheesecake flavour, and is very dense, rich and thick. Its not too sweet, and definitely reflects the quality of the cheese you choose to use – so choose well! Enjoy!

Makes 1 quart

with De Martino Wine

Fig Mangosteen Ripple

Obviously, if you cannot find dried mangosteen, you could just add more figs, or think up your own decadent combination. Dried cranberries and blueberries might be gorgeous here. Sun dried tomatoes would also be pretty wonderfully wild.

  • 1/2 cup (about 100 g) dried figs
  • 1/2 cup (about 100 g) dried mangosteen
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine (I used De Martino Sauvignon Blanc) – for the non alcoholic version, use 1 cup of sparkling juice (I used Pear & Elderflower Presse by Belvoir Fruit Farms)

Chop the dried fruit into small chunks. I used a scissors, and just cut the fruit into small bits right over the saucepan.

Place the fruit and the wine in a small saucepan, and on the lowest heat possible, poach the fruit in the wine. You want the liquid to be just simmering, never boiling. The liquid will plump up the fruit, and the fruit will absorb almost all of the wine. When the mixture becomes a sticky, gooey paste (about 10 – 15 minutes depending on your heat source), let cool and store covered until you are ready to ripple it into the ice cream.

This also makes an amazing topping for ice cream on its own. Very seasonally apt too!

Churned

Goat’s Cheese Ice Cream

  • 2 1/2 cups milk/cream mixture. I used 1 cup of goat’s milk to 1 1/2 cups of cream. But you be the judge on how rich you want it! I also keep an additional 1/2 cup milk/cream for thinning out the mixture just before it goes into the ice cream maker – sometimes, the custard can be just a tad too cheesy
  • 1/3 + 1/3 cup of caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks (reserve the whites for other uses – making macaroons may be?)
  • 7 oz (about 200 g) soft fresh goat’s milk cheese (I used Pave de Jadis) – make sure it is a soft, fudgy, fresh cheese
  • Pinch of sea salt

Place the milk/cream and 1/3 cup of caster sugar in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk together to combine, and heat the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 175F on a thermometer, or until it just begins to steam, and bubbles begin to form on the edges of the pan.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. I always use an electric stand mixer for this because I really want to incorporate the eggs and the sugar into a creamy whole. Use whatever youve got though, but make sure to beat for at least 3 – 5 minutes, until the eggs are light and lemony coloured, and thick in consistency.

Take the milk mixture off the heat, and add about 1/3 to the egg mixture, stirring well all the while. Once you have tempered the eggs, add the rest of the milk, slowly, stirring constantly.

Crumble the goat’s milk cheese into a large bowl and set aside.

Place the egg/milk mixture back into the pan, and cook for a further few minutes, until the mixture becomes a custard. It will thicken and coat the back of a spoon. When you draw a line through the custard on the spoon, the line will hold. The temperature will be about 175F.

Have two bowls ready, one with the crumbled goat’s milk cheese at the bottom, and a good sieve.

Take the custard off the heat, and pour through the sieve onto the crumbled goat’s milk cheese. Once all the custard has been sieved, allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes, while the heat of the custard softens and melts the cheese. Mix well, using the edge of your spatula to break up the chunks of cheese.

Sieve a second time into a second bowl, ensuring that the cheese has incorporated into the custard. Taste and adjust the level of milk/cream. Sometimes I add a further 1/2 cup of cream at this stage if the cheese is too tangy and overwhelming.

Sieve a third and final time to ensure total smoothness of the mixture. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When you are ready to make ice cream, taste the cold custard. I usually will stir in a pinch of fleur de sel (or Maldon) to just highlight all the different flavours – the sweet, tangy, creamy all benefit from just a pinch of salt. Pour the custard into the ice cream maker, and follow manufacturers instructions.

With Fig Mangosteen Ripple

Goat’s Milk Cheese Ice Cream with a Fig Mangosteen Ripple

  • 1 quart goat’s milk cheese ice cream
  • Fig mangosteen ripple

Once the ice cream has been churned, you need to work very quickly. Have clean containers ready, a good spatula, a spoon, and the dried fruit ripple.

Scoop out about half of the churned ice cream into the container. Spoon over the dried fruit ripple, going right to the edge, and then scoop over the remaining ice cream. Smooth over the top with the spatula and freeze for about 1 – 2 hours until semi-firm.

Using a knife, ripple the ice cream so that the dried fruit is swirled throughout. You choose if you want it really mixed in or you want large chunks of fruit ripple sitting in the immaculate pale white ice cream.

Freeze overnight to allow the flavours and depth of contrast to blossom.

Enjoy this elegant, unique creation with those you adore 🙂

Uncle Johns Chocolate Chocolate Vanilla Berry Birthday Trifle!

20 Jun

So it was my Uncle John’s birthday in February, and he is a very special man in my life. He always treated Mila, my sister, and I as if we were adults – always listening to our opinions, treating us with respect, and telling us funny jokes. He is one of my heroes, and I wanted to make a delicious birthday cake for him. He is English, so a trifle suggested itself, and he loves chocolate, so I decided to go the whole hog (so to speak) and do a chocolate upon chocolate upon chocolate birthday trifle. I decided to “cut” it with some vanilla custard, and vanilla whipped cream, and a few, strategically placed berries to slice fragrantly through the ultimate chocolate fest.

While I use chocolate pudding, chocolate sour cream pound cake, and a thick dark chocolate sauce as the basis for this trifle, don’t think that they are all one note. If you make sure to think about them as three parts of a sublime whole, you can ensure that each tastes unique and different, but still deeply chocolately. I usually put some cinnamon in the chocolate pound cake because that adds a dusky dark note, without intruding too much. And I add some espresso to the chocolate sauce to ensure that its bitter sweetness stands out. And the chocolate pudding gets a hit of vanilla to ensure its creamy fragrance is unique. Layer these with vanilla custard, and lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream, and a jumble of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, and you get a trifle that is unspeakably delicious. Pardon the superlatives, but they really apply here.

First you need to prepare the various elements of the trifle, and then you can put them all together!

Chocolate Sauce

  • Approximately 300 grams (10 oz) at least 75% bittersweet chocolate
  • 100 g + 100 g good quality French butter
  • ¾ cup strong espresso (hot)
  • 1 cup whipping or double cream
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey (flowery honey if you have it – heather, lavender, etc – it gives a lovely note)

In a heavy pot, put your chocolate, broken into pieces. Cut 100 g of butter on top of the chocolate, pour over the hot espresso, and then pour the whipping cream on top. Put on a small low fire. Mix constantly as the butter and chocolate melts, and add the sugar and honey.

As soon as the chocolate is melted, continue mixing for a few more minutes to let the mixture “cook” – you will taste more toffee and dark notes, but you don’t want the mixture to burn.

As soon as the sauce is to your liking, take off the heat, and cut in remaining 100 g of butter. This will help cool down the sauce, and will make it glossy and thick. Leave to cool completely.

Berry Mixture

If you use organic berries, you wont need any embellishments because the flavour comes out so pure and strong. If you dont use organic berries, you might want to add a tablespoon or so of jam to enhance the flavour profile. This is wonderful as is spooned over vanilla ice cream, or heated with a dollop of port wine, and tumbled boozily over ice cream, or swirled with vanilla custard. Or serve as is, with a big bowl of Greek yogurt and brown sugar mixed. Mmmmmm.

  • 450 g (1 lb) organic strawberries
  • a few drops of very old balsamico if you have it
  • 170 g (6 oz) blackberries
  • 170 g (6 oz) raspberries
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Additional raspberries and tiny strawberries to decorate

Hull and chop the strawberries. Add a few drops of balsamico to the cut strawberries and watch as they glow ruby red and their scent and oils get released in contact with the balsamico. If you don’t have it, try a few drops of red wine vinegar, red wine, or even port wine.

Chop the blackberries and raspberries in half and mix with the strawberry mixture.

Add caster/icing sugar. It helps that this sugar is very fine – it immediately melts into the berries and creates a wonderful sweet sauce.

Spritz on the lemon juice, mix gently once again, and refrigerate until needed.

Vanilla Custard

Oh this is so good. You can use it as the perfect accompaniment for anything – Christmas pudding, fresh berries, pound cake, crumble, stewed fruits. The list goes on and on and it is perfection any which way. You can halve this generous recipe if you want to, though I do love having extra.

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups double or whipping cream
  • 1 -2 vanilla beans, or vanilla essence or paste
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar

Combine milk and cream in saucepan, and add vanilla. If youre using vanilla beans, split the beans with a sharp knife, and scrape out the seeds directly into the milk, and pop the beans in there too!

Cook the milk, stirring constantly, over low heat for about 5 – 8 minutes, until hot, but not boiling. Take off heat.

Whisk egg yolks, cornflour and caster sugar together until pale yellow.

If you used vanilla beans, take the beans out of the milk, and pour over the egg mixture. Whisk constantly, and combine well.

Pour this thin custard back into the saucepan, and sir constantly until it thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon. Don’t allow it to boil as you might get scrambled vanilla eggs – not a good look!

Strain through a sieve if you have lumps, and cover custard with baking paper so that you wont get a skin.

Double Chocolate pudding

This makes a lot of chocolate pudding – you can halve it if you must. Its wonderful warm, and delightful cold. When you taste real chocolate pudding, and realize how quick and easy it is to make, you will never ever go back to the package.

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 5 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 + 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate broken into pieces
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients. Whisk in 1 cup of milk until you have a thick chocolately paste. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time until completely combined.

Heat the remaining 2 cups milk and 2 cups cream in a large saucepan. Don’t let come to the boil.

Pour the milk into the chocolate mixture and whisk well.

Pour the pudding mixture back into the saucepan and stir constantly over medium to low heat, until the mixture thickens to pudding consistency.

Pour back into bowl, straining the mixture through a sieve.

Mix in the bittersweet chocolate and vanilla, allowing the chocolate to melt.

Cool, covered with baking paper so that a skin will not form.

Sour Cream Chocolate Pound Cake

I bake these in loaf tins. I think you can get 3 – 4 tins worth from this recipe. This is a wonderful cake, it keeps for ages, and can be frozen wrapped. Its thick, moist, and yet light. Its not overwhelmingly chocolate, and the hint of cinnamon is deep and dark and yet sweetly musky. Beautiful.

  • 4 ½ cups cake flour
  • 2 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 4 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (optional)

Butter 2 – 4 loaf pans, and line with baking paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugars. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Add the vanilla.

On low, beat in the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream.

Once everything is completely mixed, add the chopped chocolate.

Scrape the batter into the loaf tins, about 3/4ths full.

Bake at 165 C for an hour and ten minutes, or until a knife or wooden pick comes out with a few crumbs attached.

Please do note that if you only fill the pan halfway, the cooking time will be much less – may be 40 minutes or so. Do check every half an hour as ovens and pans vary so widely.

Cool, in the pan, for at least 15 minutes before unmolding.

Whipped Cream

Just before assembling the trifle, whip some cream so it holds light peaks.

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • ½ – 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 2 tsp agar agar

Whip the cream on low-medium with an electric beater. About halfway through, when the cream has thickened, add the caster sugar and vanilla and agar agar. This vegetarian gelling agent is made from seaweed, and will ensure that your whipped cream stayed whipped and wont weep for at least 24 hours. Great to use in chiffon pies or other recipes where you need whipped cream to stay put!

Assembly

The above recipes make enough for 2 trifles – serving about 15 – 20 people.

Choose beautiful glass bowls or containers so that you can see the incredible colours and textures of your trifle through the edges.

Have everything within easy reach.

Slice your cake in ½ inch slices.

Line the bottom of the bowl with the cake. Drizzle a bit of chocolate sauce over. Layer some custard on top. Put in a layer of berries (making sure that the nicest ones are edging the bowl), and then a layer of chocolate pudding and a layer of whipped cream. Finish with a layer of cake, and start all over again. The last layer should be whipped cream – you can drizzle flakes of chocolate over or arrange pretty berries.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow flavours to meld.