Monday 17 June 2013

BSFIC: goats cheese, thyme and honey semifreddo

IceCreamChallenge The theme for the summer BSFIC challenge is herbs. I was initially stumped - I couldn't think of anything other than luridly green mint choc chip - but eventually my ideas did crystallise.

My favourite ice cream from last year was the blue cheese, quince, olive oil and pistachio concoction I arrived at for the savoury ice cream challenge in November. So I decided to play around with a similar family of flavours. A cheese, a dried fruit, a nut and a luscious Mediterranean sweetness from thyme-infused honey.

I had half a log of soft, mild goats cheese in the fridge (I've been indulging in goats cheese and persimmon toast for breakfast again), so that was my cheese component sorted. I also had half a pack of chopped walnuts and a few baby marinated figs in the pantry. The only things I actually needed to buy were thyme and a pot of cream.
I separated out a few of the smallest and most tender thyme leaves, to fold through the mixture. There were a few flowers on the branches, so I kept them as well.
I brought honey to the boil with a big handful of thyme and allowed it to infuse for 10 minutes, then strained it while it was still quite warm and runny.
I whipped cream and goats cheese to soft peaks.
I beat egg whites to firm peaks. Then I poured the runny, fragrant honey into the egg yolks and beat them to a froth. After that it was just a matter of folding everything together, pouring it into a tin and freezing it. Very straightforward, although it did use a LOT of bowls.

The flavour was excellent. First up on the nose and palate is the honey, with a little sharp lemonyness from the thyme, then a very subtle savouryness from the goats cheese. All interspersed with the soft grainy figs and chunks of walnut. Really delicious, and probably a good starting point for anyone who is sceptical about cheesy ice cream. Not as good a flavour as the blue cheese and quince though...

Goats cheese, thyme and honey semifreddo (makes 6-8 slices)

150g honey
big handful lemon thyme
170ml double cream (or 150 or 200ml - it comes in a 170ml pot)
75g soft goats cheese
2 eggs, separated
50g chopped walnuts
50g miniature preserved figs, chopped
1/2 tsp very small thyme leaves & flowers, extra

Firstly reserve some of the smallest thyme leaves and any flowers in the bunch. Combine the honey and a big handful of thyme in a small saucepan (easiest to weigh the honey straight into the saucepan) and put over a low heat, bringing gently to the boil, then removing from the heat and allowing to sit and infuse for about 10 minutes (or as long as it takes to do the rest of it).

Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks in one bowl. Mash the goats cheese in another bowl with a fork, gradually adding the cream until smooth. Whip the cheesy cream to soft peaks (I do egg whites then cream so I can use the same beaters without washing them in between - it doesn't hurt the cream to have a bit of egg white still on them).

Whisk the egg yolks in yet another bowl, pouring the strained honey into them gradually. Whisk to a froth.

Fold together the contents of the three bowls, trying not to lose too much volume but without leaving white streaks of cream or egg white. Then fold in the reserved thyme leaves and flowers, chopped walnuts and chopped figs.

Pour into a cling-film lined loaf tin, cover with more cling film and freeze.

Serve, cut into slices, with a little scattering of more thyme leaves as a garnish.


Faux Fuchsia said...

never would have thought of this EVER!

Cuisine de Provence said...

Looks delicious, I will give it a try soon!

~~louise~~ said...

Holy goodness combination, Alicia!!! I too would never think to combine such ingredients. I sure wouldn't mind having a taste test!

Thank you so much for sharing...

Alicia Foodycat said...

FF - I had a ricotta gelato recently, so maybe that was why it was in front of my mind?

CdeP - you should - you must have access to lovely thyme!

Louise - thank you! I wish I could send you some!

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Oh my goodness, all those flavours sound amazing. I love frozen cheesecake, so cheese in ice cream is definitely a win for me!

Kavey said...

I love the way you come to these clever flavour combinations - part imagineering in your head and part using up odds and ends in the store cupboard!

This one sounds lovely, once again.

Thanks for entering BSFIC - I really love seeing what people come up with!

Unknown said...

Ooo, not too sure I'm ready for the blue cheese and quince- but this one sounds like a good jumping off point for cheesy ice cream!

underthebluegumtree said...

This sounds AMAZING. I definitely have to try this. Bookmarking the recipe.

Angie's Recipes said...

You have me at the combo of goat cheese and thyme! The semifreddo looks amazing!

grace said...

i can't even begin to predict whether or not i'd like this--i've never tasted anything remotely like it! very creative!

Heather S-G said...

What a gorgeous combination of flavors!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Leaf - oh, I love frozen cheesecake too! This reminds me of a frozen mascarpone and honey parfait I used to make.

Kavey - I do love a leftover.

Chris - it is an easy way in.

Bluegum - I hope you like it!

Angie - thank you!

Grace - if you like cream cheese with pepper jelly I think you would like this.

Heather - thank you!

Joanne said...

I love infusing herbs into desserts and this semifreddo is so inventive with it's flavors!

Alexandra Stafford said...

This combination of flavors sounds absolutely delicious! You are so clever.

Alexandra Stafford said...

Love this combination of flavors! Have been dying to make goats milk gelato -- honey, thyme and walnuts sound like wonderful additions. You are so clever!

Deb in Hawaii said...

What a great combination of ingredients you have here--all of my favorites in one frozen treat! ;-)

Simona Carini said...

Wow! I must try to to make thyme-infused honey.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...