The first time I came across Bluebell Falls goat’s cheese was at Cafe Paradiso in Cork. I remember being blown away by the delicate taste and thinking it was surely one of the best soft goat’s cheeses I had ever had the joy of sampling. Since then, I’ve bought it whenever I could find it, which isn’t too often when you live in the wilds of West Kerry.
When we started thinking about what Irish foods we wanted to turn into ice cream for our Dublin party, I immediately thought of Bluebell Falls. We contacted the Keane family, and they kindly sent some down. There was a surprise, though – I had always tasted their plain goats cheese. They, however, suggested their honey and thyme cheese.
When we made it into ice cream, we had prepared extra honey infused with thyme by cooking it over low heat. However, we didn’t need it at all. The ice cream was perfect without it, and it really underlines our philosophy that with great ingredients, there is no need to mask or complicate. One can simply enjoy!
GOATS CHEESE ICE CREAM
• 130g sugar
• 5 egg yolks
• 240 ml cream
• 200 ml milk
• 150 gm Bluebell Falls or other excellent goats cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
What to do:
1. Combine the egg yolks and sugar and beat until thick.
2. Bring the milk to a low simmer.
3. Beat the milk into the egg/sugar mixture in a slow stream.
4. Pour the mixture back into the pan and place over low heat.
5. 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!
6. Immediately remove from the heat.
7. Allow to cool, then mix in the vanilla and goats cheese, using a blender or processor just until smooth.
8. Whip the cream until it has doubled in volume (you should have soft peaks – don’t over-whip).
10. Fold (gently stir) in the custard.
11. Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, or cover and place in the freezer.
12. 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.
Yield: 8 servings
1. If you can only find plain goats cheese and like the idea of honey and thyme, you can always add some in to taste.
2. To pasteurise the eggs, heat the custard to 73C and maintain that temperature for at least 5 minutes. Use a cooking thermometer, though, and keep stirring! If the custard goes any higher than 76C, the eggs will scramble. Immediately cover and place in the freezer until cool.