We all have bucket lists – things we hope to accomplish one day, dreams we hope to bring to reality. I’d love to visit Italy, tour the South of France, and live on a farm. I’d also love to go grape stomping, write a cookbook, and sell baby hats on Etsy (I’m weird, I know).
My foodie bucket list is a whole ‘nother story of things I want to accomplish in the kitchen. It used to be really long, but I’ve slowly been making my way through. In the past year, I’ve made pasta from scratch, filleted and cooked a whole fish, butchered a duck (and made confit), mastered omelettes and egg poaching, made falafel from scratch (with raw garbanzo beans!), made all kinds of nut butters, cooked a killer risotto, and learned to make a spicy Pad Thai.
One of the things I’ve always wanted to do, was make my own ice cream. Last year, my cousin gave me a gift certificate to chefscatalog.com for my birthday (I know, she’s amazing, right?) and I decided to buy myself an ice cream machine. As soon as the box arrived in the mail, I froze the ice cream bowl and went straight to work making some of the recipes that were included with the machine. I made classic vanilla, strawberry and coffee ice cream – each of which was delicious. But I wanted more.
So I started experimenting with my own ingredients to come up with unique flavors like guava and persimmon. Making ice cream from scratch was fun and exciting, but like many hobbies, my passion dwindled and my ice cream maker got lost somewhere way-up-high in the pantry. As the weather began to warm up, I decided to dust off my machine once again and up the ante on my ice cream making skills. Instead of making a ice cream with a base of heavy cream, I decided to challenge myself to making creme anglaise – a custard made of milk, sugar and eggs that is often used to make ice cream. One more thing to check off my bucket list.
No one said that mastering cooking techniques was easy. I must have gone through 2 dozen eggs and 4 quarts of milk until I managed to make a custard base that didn’t curdle. But practice makes perfect, and this creamy, yet mildly tangy cheesecake ice cream is living proof.
So what’s left on my bucket list? Well, I want to make my own kimchi, learn to can my own jam, make marshmallows from scratch, make authentic French macaroons, learn to use a smoker, eat more Indian food (make naan!), make my own sausage, play around with doughs (from galletes, to gourmet challah and homemade pita), cook a whole turkey for Thanksgiving (can you believe I’ve never done that?!), expand my knowledge of cheese & wine, eat more polenta, cook with (kosher) bacon, and experiment with plantains.
I’m sure I’m leaving out at least 100 other things, but lets see how far I get this year! In the meantime, I’m relishing the fruits of my labor with this unbelievably creamy and decadent dessert made from Natural & Kosher chevre goat cheese. I couldn’t think of a better way to end a dairy meal on the holiay of Shavuot. Chag Sameach!
Goat Cheese Ice Cream
4 egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
8 oz Natural & Kosher goat cheese
fresh fruit, or compote, for serving
Set a large fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl and set the bowl in larger bowl of ice water.
Add the milk, sugar and honey to a large saucepan. Scrape the vanilla bean and add the seeds and pods to the pot. Heat the milk mixture until sugar and honey are dissolved and small bubbles start to appear.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and slowly stream in 1/3 of the milk, whisking as your pour. Add the eggs/milk mixture slowly to the pot with the milk mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
Continue to cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken and coats the back of a spoon, about 4-5 minutes. Watch carefully! If the mixture gets too hot, the eggs will curdle. Immediately strain the sauce into the bowl set over the ice water bath.
Add the goat cheese to the sauce and whisk until melted and incorporated. Pour it through the mesh strainer to filter out any bits of cheese.
Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight and pour into ice cream machine. Churn until mixture reaches the consistency of soft serve ice cream, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer.
Other Shavuot Desserts: