A few years ago my favorite ice cream shop started to come up with strange flavors, like blue cheese, pistachios, salted vanilla. For me it was an instant addiction. This project was inspired by their blue cheese ice cream and salty vanilla with candied pumpkin seed swirls.
Gorgonzola, walnuts and honey is a classic combination though not in the form of an ice cream. So this is going to be weird, I hope weird enough for you to give it a try.
For those of you who have already tried to make ice cream at home, this is basically a custard base upgraded with different types of freshly ground peppers and Gorgonzola. But you may use any blue cheese you like. To make it really hot I made candied walnuts with cayenne pepper to top the ice cream with. Walnuts could also be chopped and added to the ice cream once your ice cream machine finished work.
The starting point of the walnut-part was a classic recipe available at various internet sites called Union Square CAfe's Bar Nuts which is a family favorite. However I altered the recipe a bit, increasing the amount of rosemary and cayenne, changing the brown sugar to honey, adding more butter and smoked paprika also.
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Step 1: Ingredients and Tools
Ingredients of the ice-cream
300 ml cream
200 ml milk
4 large egg yolks
80 g sugar
150 g gorgonzola (or other blue cheese)
1 heaped teaspoon of various peppers freshly ground (I used green, white pepper, pink peppercorn and long pepper)
a good pinch of salt
Ingredients of the topping
300 g walnuts
3 8-10 cms long fresh rosemary sprigs
1 tbs honey
2 tbs butter
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch of salt
whisk, wooden spoon
Step 2: Prepping
Grind the peppers and chop the cheese.
Step 3: Custard
In a medium saucepan, start heating the milk and cream mixture (pic 1.). It has to get hot, but no need to boil it.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the yolks with the sugar until the color of the mixture gets a little pale (pic 2-3).
Slowly pour the hot milk and cream into the egg yolks stirring constantly (pic 4).
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan (pic 5.) and cook it while stirring constantly until it gets thick enough to cover the back of a wooden spoon. Good test is that if you pull your finger across, the mark stays (pic 6.)
Pour the custard over the cheese, mix. Stir in about half of the ground pepper. Wait till the mixture cools to room temperature, then put it into the fridge for at least 12 hours.
Step 5: Topping
LIne a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper, toast the walnuts in the oven at 190 Celsius for about 12-15 minutes until they get light brown.
In the meantime, chop the rosemary (pic 1.), melt the butter (pic 2.), add the rosemary and the honey (pic 3.) and cook until it gets just a little color (pic 4.), add salt, cayenne and smoked paprika. Foam will develop, that's normal.
Toss the walnuts into the spiced butter, stir, transfer it on the parchment paper, let it cool. Do your best not to eat it before you're done with the ice-cream.
Step 8: Finish Ice - Cream
When the custard has been sitting long enough in the fridge, turn it into an ice - cream. Follow the ice-cream machine manufacturer's instructions.
Step 9: Enjoy!
Serve the ice-cream topped with the spicy walnuts. I suggest to sprinkle it with a little of the remaining ground pepper mixture and whole pink peppercorns.
Second Prize in the