One spring day, I announced to my boyfriend that I was thinking of making a honey ginger ice-cream. "Honey sounds good," he said, "and ginger sounds good, but together?"
Well...I wasn't done listing my ingredients yet. When I told him the third ingredient was goat cheese he asked me if I really wanted to serve that at an upcoming dinner.
Poor skeptical boyfriend. The next evening when this ice-cream was presented, he swore he'd never question my flavor profiles again.
But the real test was making this ice-cream for my parents. My parents embrace piles of spices, fish head curries, and goat stews but the sight of cheese gives them pause. So I decided not to tell them exactly what was going into this frozen dessert.
My dad, the most cautious eater of all, got the first taste. Swishing the first spoonful around in his mouth, he proclaimed it good. Not just good, beautiful.
"So, did you know there's goat cheese in it?" I asked.
Silence. Not because he didn't like it, but because he was too busy finishing his bowlful.
There you have it folks, boyfriend tested but Indian parent approved.
This ice-cream is processed sugar free and SCD-legal (for those of you concerned with inflammatory diets) and the ginger and goat cheese flavors balance each other perfectly. The bite of the ginger is mellowed by the goat cheese and instead of a zing from either, you get a smooth custardy taste.
Honey- use a good quality honey that isn't too strong, I tend to use clover or wildflower honey
Ginger- three inches, grated
Half and Half- three cups (you could also use 2 cups whole milk + 1 cup heavy cream)
Egg Yolks- 5
Candied Ginger- 1/2 cup (I bought mine at Whole Foods to save time but it's easy to candy your own)
Goat Cheese- 4 oz, as fresh and young as possible (the more aged it is, the stronger the flavor)
Heavy bottomed medium sized pot
Heat proof spatula
Ice-cream maker (I use cuisinart)
NOTE: If you've never made ice-cream before I suggest you read up on technique. I suggest reading the recipe a few times so you know what you're doing and aren't fumbling last minute. Timing is important- or you get soggy eggs with flavored milk....blech....
Pour half and half/milk + cream into a medium sized pot. Add grated ginger. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally making sure to scrape bottom of pot. Let mixture heat on low for an hour, infusing the milk with the ginger flavor.
Add 1/2 cup honey to mixture, stirring until it dissolves. Turn off heat and allow pot + contents to cool to room temperature. While pot is cooling, crumble your goat cheese into a bowl large enough to hold the liquid mixture.
Now, temper your egg yolks with the milk mixture. Slowly add small quantities ( approx 2 tbsp) of milk to egg yolks while whisking vigorously. Repeat 10-15 times until yolks are well mixed and milky.
Slowly pour tempered yolks into pot while whisking milk mixture. You MUST whisk vigorously or you'll end up with scrambled eggs in your ice-cream.
Turn heat to medium and use a heat-proof spatula to stir milk+yolk mixture. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot while slowly stirring. Mixture will begin to thicken and slowly steam. Test doneness by lifting spatula out of pot and running your finger down the side. If you can draw a line into the mixture and it stays drawn, your custard is done. Make sure this mixture does NOT boil. As soon as its thick enough for you to draw the line on your spatula, remove it from the heat.
Pour mixture into bowl containing goat cheese. If you have a strainer, pour the custard mixture through the strainer. This will give your end product a smoother texture. The heat of the mixture will melt the goat cheese, stir a few times to incorporate evenly.
Refrigerate this bowl for a few hours. I tend to let mine cool overnight. This allows the custard to set and lets the flavors "sink in".
When this is done, remove mixture from fridge and freeze according to your maker's instructions. 2-3 minutes before it's done, add pieces of candied ginger. I tend to cut mine into small chunks, like little gems of zesty ginger. You can also add extra honey as a last step, it solidifies as it hits the cold icecream and is churned into a honey swirl.
After it's done churning, I like to stick my ice-cream back in the freezer for at least half an hour to let it firm up before serving.
This makes a fantastic dessert after a spicy meal and it's a lot of fun to watch guests try to figure out exactly what's inside the deliciousness they are eating.