Blue Cheese and Caramelised Shallot Ice Cream

Blue Cheese and Caramelised Shallot Ice Cream OK – gentle readers – before you throw a tantrum, and yell “What???? Blue cheese ice cream?” I will tell you a story. A couple of weeks ago, my brother and I were discussing the book launch, when he suggested we support Irish cheesemakers by serving up some of the excellent cheeses that Ireland increasingly has to offer. I have to admit I lost the head a bit, since the idea of serving something savoury at the launch of an ice cream and dessert book simply struck me as wrong. I departed in a huff.

Wicklow Blue CheeseThe next day, however, I began thinking some more about what Sean said, especially since he usually is right. The idea of highlighting an Irish cheese or two was certainly appealing. Sean and I talked some more and decided that a cheese ice cream would make us both happy. Blue cheese, Sean suggested, might be the most interesting. I had heard about blue cheese ice cream being made in the UK, but had never tried it, and a chef we know had once suggested a cheese and caramelised shallot ice cream. So… I started playing.

I like the result, but the rest of production is split 50-50. I think it’s not something for everyone, but if you want to try something different, it might be for you.

And if you want to taste it without making it, come along to Murphys Ice Cream Killarney tomorrow evening for the book launch, or head to Dingle on Thursday. It will certainly give people something to talk about!

Murphys Blue Cheese and Caramelised Shallot Ice Cream

  • 125g sugar (for custard)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (for shallots)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • shallots210 ml cream
  • 200 ml milk
  • 50 g mild blue cheese (I used Wicklow Blue)
  • 2 “banana” shallots, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil

Yield: 6 Servings 

What to do: 

  1. Quarter the shallots lengthwise and then chop into fine pieces.
  2. Fry over medium-high heat with the butter, stirring constantly until the are golden.
  3. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue to fry until the sugar has melted and the shallots have turned a dark golden brown.
  4. Spread on a tray to cool.
  5. Beat the rest of the sugar and egg yolks together until thick and pale yellow.
  6. Bring the milk to a low simmer.
  7. Beat the milk into the eggs and sugar in a slow stream.
  8. Pour the mixture back into the pan and place over low heat.
  9. Stir continuously until the custard thickens slightly (around 65-70C) and just coats the back of a spoon. Don’t over-heat, though, because at around 76C you will scramble the eggs!
  10. Blue CheeseImmediately remove from the heat.
  11. Allow to cool completely.
  12. Break up or chop the blue cheese and put in a blender with half of the custard – pulsing until smooth.
  13. Stir the blue cheese/custard mix back into the rest of the custard, cover, return to the refrigerator and allow to sit for at least two hours.
  14. Whip the cream until it has doubled in volume (you should have soft peaks – don’t over-whip).
  15. Fold the cream (gently stir) into the custard.
  16. Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, adding the carmelised shallots when the ice cream is already quite solid.
  17. Otherwise, cover and place in the freezer, again adding the shallots when it has become semi-solid.
  18. If you’re using a domestic ice cream machine, transfer to a freezer-proof covered container when the ice cream has achieved a semi-solid consistency (around 15 minutes). Place it in the freezer, and continue to freeze until it is solid.

6 Servings.


  1. Blue Cheese Ice CreamThis ice cream will only be as good as the blue cheese you use. Find one you like! 
  2. To pasteurise the eggs, heat the custard to 73C and keep at that temperature for three minutes. Use a cooking thermometer, though! If the custard goes any higher than 76C, the eggs will scramble. Immediately cover and place in the freezer until cool.

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Food & Wine

Rum Raisin I was thrilled to see this in the current, “Hot 100” issue of Food and Wine:

21 – Best Ice Cream

Ben and Jerry have nothing on Sean and Kieran, the two Murphy brothers who have added “centre of ice cream making excellence” to Dingle’s attributes. Along with the flagship cafes they have there and in Killarney, Murphys Ice Cream has recently gone nationwide with their range of 500ml tubs, which includes the booziest rum raisin we’ve ever tasted.

It’s the second time we’ve made the “Hot 100” list, and we’re delighted!

Ice Cream News, Vol II

Daily Scoop

I’ve been tagged by the Kitchen Goddess, and the idea was to put together your best ten photos. Boy, is the Goddess’ line-up beautiful, and it’s a site worth visiting for sure. However, I’m feeling very lazy, and instead of going through all my photos (the idea makes my head hurt), instead I’ve pulled up my ten favourite current ice cream news stories, which has nothing to do with anything (and don’t worry – there’s no tagging involved).

As you probably know, I’m rather fond of Google News, and the last time I looked up the news on ice cream, there was a lot of doom and gloom (Vol I here). This time, it was all fluff, nonsense, and happiness. To whit:

  1. The Mail on Sunday broke the following story – “Posh takes kids out for ice cream.” Must have been a slow news day, and I have to wonder – a) who cares and b) is this really the most shocking photo the paparazzi can manage?
  2. Staying with celebrities, it appears that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt feed their kids ice cream for breakfast. My estimation of the pair has definitely gone up.
  3. On a more serious note, IOL has it that Carrie Underwood likes to eat ice cream after a break-up. She says, “Ice cream is my friend.”
  4. Still more – the Boston Herald reports that Josh Beckett of the Red Sox has demanded to be traded unless the club return the ice cream machine it removed from the clubhouse. He’s not the only one aggrieved – third baseman Mike Lowell said, “I don’t know why we can’t have ice cream. We won the World Series with it there.”
  5. Reuters reports that a Viking ship made out of ice cream sticks set sail for England from the Netherlands on Tuesday. I’m delighted at the recycling involved, but one really must wonder about the odd historical context. Maybe I didn’t pay attention in history class, but I don’t remember that the Vikings were big on popsicles…
  6. More on recycling – it appears that the gunk at the bottom of wine barrels is good for stabilising ice cream. Yes, the sediment is called “grape wine lees” and a Taiwanese study shows that it apparently reduces melting in ice cream by 30-80%. Unfortunately, there are also some “unpleasant effects.”
  7. The Baltimore Sun announces a fundraising ice cream social for dogs. It’s part of a whole array of events including “Bark and Rejoice” and “Wagging Contest.”
  8. As several customers mentioned in our shops, the Apprentice had the contestants making ice cream. I missed it.
  9. Even the Economist had a cheerful ice cream storyMehmet Ali Talat, the unrecognised president of Northern Cyprus, pulled off a publicity stunt by going walkabout on the Greek side of the line and sampling the local ice cream.
  10. Finally, I was intrigued by this story: Three Twins Ice Cream in California has a $60,000 sundae. Sound a lot? Well for that you get to fly to Tanzania first class and ascend to Mount Kilimanjaro, where the founder of the ice cream company will hand-churn your ice cream using glacial ice from the summit. You also get a souvenir t-shirt.

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Pop the Cork

Crement Alsace We’ve started receiving some of the goodies for the book launch next week, not least of which were some cases of Champagne.

Eugene Meyer

Actually, it’s sparkling wine, since it’s not from Champagne at all, but rather from Alsace. We chose this Meyer Brut because it’s not only organic but biodynamic, and it comes recommended by Julian.

This is the second biodynamic sparkling wine I will have tasted. The first (Fleury) also came from Bubble Brothers in Cork, and we used to it make pink champagne sobet.

The latest bottles will not be made into ice cream unless we fail to drink them all down, and that would seem unlikely…

In any case, come along if you can and lift a glass with us on the night (Wednesday 30th in Killarney, and Thursday 1st May in Dingle)!

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Inexpensive Ice Cream Maker

5 scoops of ice cream This was just passed on to me:

If you want to start making your own ice cream, Aldi has an inexpensive domestic ice cream maker on special for 29.99. I don’t know the brand so I can’t vouche for the quality, but no doubt it will do the trick…

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Meringues, Take Three

Meringues Since I seem to be on a baking kick, I’ll post this meringue recipe. I’ve written up recipes before – most recently here, because meringues are something we want to get right. That’s because our ice cream uses only egg yolks, and we hate discarding egg whites. Meringues are also gluten-free, so they have their uses in desserts for people with restricted diets. Hopefully we’ll try to sell meringues in some form in the very near future.

Different people like meringues different ways. Some like them dry and crunchy, others like them crunchy with a somewhat chewy centre. The previous recipes have been the latter, but for making meringue baskets or using them as a base for an ice cream cake, dry is definitely better. Christophe and I have spent a few days in production testing variations in recipes and methods, and here’s our favourite.

(They need a long time in the oven, but good things come to those who wait!)

Murphys Meringues (Dry and Crunchy)

More meringuesIngredients:

  • 3 medium egg whites
  • 130 g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

What to Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 100C.
  2. Beat the egg whites in a dry glass or stainless steel bowl (if using an electric mixer, do this at medium speed rather than high speed, which will take a bit longer but give the meringues more strength) until foamy.
  3. Add the lemon juice.
  4. Continue mixing until they are fairly stiff.
  5. Beat in the sugar in a slow stream.
  6. Beat until very stiff and shiny.
  7. Transfer to a piping bag (or use a couple of spoons) and shape the meringues on a baking tray or silicone mat.
  8. Bake for 90 minutes.
  9. Cool on wire racks.
  10. Meringue Close-upStore in an air-tight container.


  1. If you want to make meringue nests, start in the centre, work out in a tight spiral, then build up the sides.
  2. Please do follow my instructions about the mixing speed. If you mix them on high, the meringues will not be as strong and could develop unsightly bubbles.
  3. There are many of things you can add to meringues in terms of flavouring – vanilla essence, almond essence, and cocoa for chocolate meringues are just a few examples. If you do add flavouring, always add it at the end, once the meringues are stiff.

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