Yes, I know it sounds crazy. Even Max, my ice cream co-conspirator, took some convincing before he was willing to give this flavor a whirl. It's a little strange, admit it. You'd better like blue cheese, otherwise this probably won't be your favorite ice cream flavor.
But, in the great French tradition of eating cheese for dessert, and if you like blue cheese, this is pretty great—tangy, ripe, and moldy (in the best possible way), with a great balance of salty and sweet. It goes great with everything blue cheese goes with, naturally: tannic red wines, sherry (cream, especially), apples (maybe an apple tart?), poached pears, blackberries, etc.
Or serve it with a slice of cheesecake, for the two-cheese approach to dessert? The unexpected little chunks of blue cheese floating in the ice cream give it a textural and flavor kick that knock it up to a whole different level. It might be ice cream, but it's cheese ice cream. Even I have to admit that I'd have trouble eating a whole bowl of this (it's just that intense) but a small scoop, drizzled with sherry and honey? Hell yes.
I used a pretty basic, supermarket Danish blue, just to see how it would come out, but don't let that stop you from using higher quality, more interesting varieties. Since blue cheeses can have such a wide range of flavors (spicy, salty, ripe, sweet) I'd recommend using the one you like to eat best, since the cheese's flavor profile carries over pretty clearly into ice cream form.
This recipe is approximate for the same reason, and you should feel free to adjust/add/subtract based on what type of blue you're using. If you're completely at a loss, I'd recommend getting a blue d'auvergne (mild, slightly spicy, slightly sweet) or, at the other end of the spectrum, a gorgonzola (bold, intense, complex). If you go the mild route, you'll need a little less sugar, and if you go the more intense route, you might need a little more. It's a breeze to make, so whichever way you go, let us know how it turned out, and what your favorite combinations are for it!
- 5 ounces of bleu cheese, crumbled
- 1 quart half and half (or 1 pint milk, 1 pint heavy cream)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon whole or cracked white peppercorns
Cook the half and half over medium-low heat with the peppercorns until hot to the touch. Put about 2/3 of the crumbled cheese into a mixing bowl, and pour the hot half and half through a strainer over the cheese, add the sugar and lemon juice and whisk until all the chunks (cheese, sugar) are dissolved. Chill overnight, or at least four hours.
Before spinning in your machine, mix in the reserved chunks of bleu cheese. Spin according to manufacturers instructions, and then serve it to your friends but don't tell them what flavor it is.