Thursday, July 20, 2006

Semi-Freddo Tutti-Melted

I had seen some interesting ice creams over the last few years. Made from ingredients you wouldn’t usually associate with ice cream. Savory things, salty things, etc.

For example, olive oil ice cream. Sounds both interesting and a little odd. I guess you can make almost anything into an ice cream, with enough imagination.

But the one that caught my eye was a recipe for goat cheese ice cream.

‘Cause I really like goat cheese. Because of the tang combined with the creamy texture.

Ice cream made from goat cheese may seem odd at first glance, but it’s really nothing more than frozen cheese cake. With goat cheese instead of cream cheese. Suddenly not so very odd.

Plus, it’s fig season. And figs go pretty well with goat cheese, as evidenced a few days ago when I got figgy with it.

This time, to balance some really hot weather, I decided the time was right to try making some goat cheese ice cream.

The time was right, but nothing else was. So what do you do when life gives you an ice cream maker with the freezing tub left in the cupboard instead of stored in the freezer?

Well, you make semi-freddo. Which does not require an ice cream maker. Semi-freddo, as he name implies, does not freeze solid like ice cream. And it’s a bit lighter in texture, as less fat is used to make it. Because of this, semi-freddo it only gets semi-hard, and you have to serve it quickly or it will become tutti-melted molto velocemente (real fast!).

Naturally, there was no recipe for semi-freddo made from goat cheese, at least that I could find. But there were plenty for mascarpone, and even one for blue cheese. So I mixed and matched a bit, and came up with one that we all agree tastes pretty damn good. Like a cheese cake, frozen, with that sharp tang of goat cheese running through it.

The original dessert I saw was for roasted figs with port, served with the ice cream, and some decoration sprinkled around. A recipe by Charlie Trotter. Very creative.

I followed the roasting of the fig part of the recipe, then added a scoop of the goat cheese semi-freddo, and garnished.

The flavor was very nice. The port and fig sort of roast together, fusing flavors a bit. And the cold, tangy semi-freddo slowly (actually quickly – if your taking pictures!) melts over the roasted fig. I sprinkled some crushed pistachios and a little thyme (with tiny flowers) around for garnish.

While taking the initial set of photos with one fig, I froze the other figs, hoping that the frozen fig would help keep the scoop of semi-freddo cold a little longer during the picture taking.

And decided that the frozen fig with the port frozen right inside, sitting under the semi-freddo, while different in texture, was an improvement in some ways. I think I would serve the figs frozen in the summer, and room temperature in the winter. And to be honest (aren’t I always honest?) I liked the semi-freddo better than I think I would have liked the ice cream.

Port Roasted Figs with Goat Cheese Semi-Freddo
Based on an idea by Charlie Trotter
Recipe by surfindaave
Serves 4, with lots of semi-freddo extra

4 ripe fresh figs
¼ cup port
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
Goat Cheese Semi-Freddo (recipe follows)
Pistachios, for garnish, if desired
Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish, if desired

Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.

Slice the stems off of the four figs. With a knife tip, carefully open up the pocket of the figs from the stem end, creating a little cup. If the hole at the flower end it too large, you can plug it up with a small piece of the trimmed stem.

In a small heavy saucepan, heat the sugar with the water, swirling, until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Toss the figs in the simple syrup, spooning it all around the outside and into the inside. Let all the excess syrup drip off and out. Fill the figs carefully with a few teaspoons of port. Place the figs on a baking tray, and bake for about 20 minutes, until just bubbling, but not mushy. Remove the figs to a plate and let cool completely, reserving all juices on the plates and pans. Note – at this point, you can place the figs in the freezer for 20 minutes, if desired.

Place one fig on each of four serving plates. Place a few drops of the baked fig juices decoratively around the plate. Sprinkle the plate with the pistachios.

Form four quenelles from the goat cheese semi-freddo using two teaspoons. Carefully place one quenelle on top of each fig. Garish the plates with the thyme sprigs, if desired. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Goat Cheese Semi-Freddo
Recipe by surfindaave
Serves many!

4 large fresh eggs, separated, and at room temperature
8 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature, cut into chunks
¾ cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup water
¼ tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
½ cup fresh heavy cream, well chilled

Oil a 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan, and line it completely with plastic wrap, ensuring enough extra plastic wrap overhangs the edges so the pan can be covered after filling. Set aside.

Beat the egg yolks with the 2 tbsp sugar until they become light yellow and creamy. Mix the goat cheese into the mixture, and beat until well combined, scraping down the sides as necessary. Reserve.

In a small heavy saucepan, heat the ¾ cup sugar with the 1/3 cup water, swirling, until the sugar melts. Continue to cook until the syrup thickens and starts to bubble up.

While the syrup is cooking, with cleaned beaters, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form. Carefully drizzle the syrup slowly into the egg whites while beating and turning the bowl. Continue to beat the egg whites after all the syrup is added until the egg whites are completely cooled, and the meringue is shiny and holds firm peaks.

With cleaned beaters, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form.

Fold ¼ of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture. Carefully fold the egg yolk mixture and the whipped cream into the meringue. Gently scoop the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, smooth off the top, fold over the extra plastic to cover, and place in freezer for at least 2 hours.

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Blogger Rogger Mcloud said...

You have a good imagination. A big one. This is a very good dessert after eating meat for example. Is the best way of finishing the day, for example. I have been in Argentina, where I rented furnished apartments buenos aires and they eat a lot of desserts and icecream. May be you can go to work there. :)

8:38 AM  

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