It's still the time of the cranberry around these parts, and while scones, pound cake, and sorbet are all fine uses for fresh berries, I wanted to take them into full-on ice cream territory. But cranberries are a lot more assertive than your average dairy cow; they need something to stand up to their punch.
Cranberries and goats seem like kindred spirits to me. Part ornery and part adorable, they present cooks unique charms and challenges to coax the most out of them. Chevre, though mild and lemony, shares goat's barnyardy flavors, and as I've seen before, makes great ice cream. Goat cheese ice cream requires no time on a stovetop or fussing with eggs. It's light and tangy, with a savory finish. Even if your pre-holiday kitchen is overwhelmed with chores and projects, you can churn up a batch in no time flat.
The cranberry syrup side of the ice cream is as adaptable as it is easy to make. I flavored it with orange and maraschino liqueur, but ginger and pomegranate molasses would do just as well. Stay away from cinnamon, star anise, and the like for this recipe, though; sweet baking spices jive wrong with goaty flavors.
Most of my fall and winter ice creams are served on warm pie, cake, or cobbler, but this is bold enough for a scoop to stand alone. Goats and cranberries need no help. They don't want it, anyway.
Cranberry Goat Cheese Ice Cream Recipe
This ice cream has a satisfying balance of sweet and tart flavors, with a hint of goat cheese on the finish that'll give you something to think about.
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 8 ounces fresh chevre
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 12 ounces (1 bag) cranberries
- Juice of one orange
- Zest of one orange
- 1/2 teaspoon maraschino liqueur (or other fruity liquor)
In a blender, combine half and half, chevre, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and lemon zest. Purée until very smooth, then transfer to a container and chill in refrigerator until very cold. Clean out blender.
Combine cranberries, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and orange juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook at a moderate simmer until berries pop and soften to a jam-like consistency.
Transfer mixture to blender. If blender lid comes with a plug for center feed tube, remove the plug and cover with several folds of paper towel (this will allow you to blend hot liquids without creating a blender explosion). Blend until smooth, then pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a container, preferably with a spout. Do not push cranberry mixture through strainer (fibers will get pushed through), but shake it back and forth. Stir in orange zest and maraschino, then chill for several hours until very cold.
Churn goat cheese ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a large chilled bowl and very quickly fold in cranberry syrup with a large rubber spatula. Quickly transfer to a container to freeze for two to three hours before serving.
ice cream maker, blender