Goat cheese and cherry swirl ice cream
the goat cheese popping untimed and irregular bursts of mild saltiness and cheesy aroma that cuts and balance the sweetness, which then welcomes a current of tangy and floral compote of black cherries and honey
So some of you may already knew from my Instagram that I was forced onto a whiskey distillery tour in Scotland in spite of my lifelong disagreement with this confounding substance. Although against contrary evidences, I could swear I exercised a generous though painful effort to have fun. But ultimately, on a jam-packed five days excursion dead set on the sole purpose of hunting and gathering overpriced barley water and thus sidelining the other, infinitely more joyous activity of plowing into flocks of free-roaming sheep at every turn, it’s safe to assume that I absolutely did not.
And this brings us to today’s topic, Mary’s Milk Bar. If there was any highlights at all in my five days of being unpaid escort, it had to be this highly acclaimed ice cream shop in Edinburgh, sitting just at the foothill against the backdrop of the magnificent Edinburgh’s Castle. A fine quality creameries aside, what makes Mary’s Milk Bar attractive, to me at least, are her seasonal, unique profiles of unexpected flavors, pistachios and cardamom, orange and almond to name a few. But I’m not going to focus on the flavors that she already perfected, instead, I want to remake one that I felt could improve to my likings, and that was one called goat cheese and honey.
Even through the cold barrier of the glass window, I could feel the strong attraction of this combination in my imagination, but when I actually tasted it, it fell softly on the promise. The flavors of the goat cheese was very subtly blended into the smooth cream-base almost to the point of undetectability, which I guess I could understand, for goat cheese being such a pungent driver of tastes that too dominant of a presence could potentially ruin what is meant to be a sweet summer dessert. But I couldn’t help but reimagining that instead of a smooth blend, the goat cheese should come as frozen bits of surprises scattered throughout a pure and dense cream base, popping untimed and irregular bursts of mild saltiness and cheesy aroma that cuts and balances the sweetness, which would make such an incredibly rich and intense ice cream that welcomes a current of tangy and floral compote of black cherries and honey.
I put my theory to the test. And let me just say that if I had this with me everyday, I wouldn’t mind the fact that I was on a whiskey tour.
This ice cream recipe uses sticky rice flour to enhance the elasticity and density of the final product, giving the ice cream an almost chewy texture. It cannot be substituted with cornstarch or any other types of rice flours. But I promise you, that it is worth it.
- 1 1/2 cup (210 grams) fresh cherries
- 3 tbsp (58 grams) honey
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 cup (245 grams) whole milk
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (137 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) sticky rice/glutinous rice flour, see note*
- 2 tsp gelatin powder
- Small pinch of sea salt
- 2 cups (460 grams) heavy cream
- 3 tbsp (45 grams) Greek yogurt
- 3 tbsp (40 grams) goat cheese, see note**
- MAKE CHERRY SWIRL: Halve the cherries and remove the pits, and set inside a small pot along with honey and lemon juice. Bring to a gentle boil, then continue to cook for 10 to 12 minutes until liquid has reduced down to a syrupy consistency. Set aside in the fridge to cool completely.
- MAKE ICE CREAM BASE: In a medium pot, whisk together whole milk, granulated sugar, sticky rice flour, gelatin powder and sea salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and once the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, which may seem a bit lumpy at first, take it off the heat and continue to whisk until completely lump-free. The mixture should be thick and slightly glossy. Add heavy cream and Greek yogurt, and continue to whisk until completely incorporated and lump-free again.
- If you're not in a hurry, chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 6 hours until cold. Otherwise, what I always do is placing the pot inside a heavily salted ice bath (the salt lowers the temperature further), stirring occasionally, until cold, about 1 hour.
- CHURN AND MIX: Churn the mixture with your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instruction. Once ready, break the goat cheese into small bits (like chocolate chips) and scatter over the ice cream (if your goat cheese came with rind like mind, remove the rind first), add the cherry-mixture, and fold until semi-incorporated and ribboned.
- Transfer the ice cream into a lidded container and chill in the freezer to harden, at least 6 hours.
*Sticky rice flour, also called glutinous rice flour, also called Mochiko flour, is different from white rice flour. It's made from sticky rice (which is actually gluten free), the base ingredient for mochi, and can be bought in most Asian markets or online. It is what gives this ice cream an elastic property and cannot be substituted. If you can't find it, you don't have to add it in this recipe, but the texture of the ice cream will suffer.
** I used fresh goat cheese that came in a tube-form with rind. But you can also use goat cheese without rind. Just make sure it isn't flavored with herbs and whatnots.