As I mentioned in the last post, I have been having a go at replicating the Blue Cheese Ice Cream that we were served atop a salad in Bodega Aranda and which was so delicious. I believe I have achieved success.
As a basic recipe I started with one for a blue cheese salad dressing that I learnt from Pam Smith, when I was working at her Restaurante Sin Niumero in Mojacar many moons ago. It is so simple yet wonderful that I am surprised that it is not more widely known. All you need is blue cheese, thick or whipping cream and black pepper.
Then to adapt the recipe for mousse or ice cream the proportions of the ingredients are changed.
To make the salad dressing you need about one quarter volume blue cheese to three quarters cream. Put both in the food processor and beat until well mixed and the cream has started to thicken. Be careful not to overbeat or the mix may curdle. This happens very easily in the hot summer heat here. The dressing will further thicken in the fridge, so you can stop beating when the dressing is a little less thick than you want the end result to be.
Season with black pepper. There is no need for salt as the cheese will have enough in it already.
Store in the fridge until needed. It will keep for up to three days.
The mousse I like to serve with fruit to offset the sweetness of it. As fruit ripens on the farm, any that is not eaten fresh is preserved. Here I have pears poached in sugar syrup flavoured with cardamoms and saffron. They are put into sterilised jars when hot and then will keep up to three years if kept in a cool dark place. They then provide the basis for a quick and easy dessert.
When I come to serve the pears, I drain off the syrup which I then reduce by putting it in a pan, bringing it to the boil and continuing to simmer it until it is thickened and viscous. Let it then cool then drizzle over the whole dish when serving.
For the mousse the proportion of cheese to cream is equal and I like to leave some texture to the cheese as you can see above. But if you prefer a smooth mousse then beat a bit more. If you are serving the mousse with fruit then the pepper is optional.
To ensure that the ice cream does not set too hard the choice of cheese is important. It needs to be a full fat blue cheese like Stilton, Roquefort or Cabrales. It is tempting to imagine that a soft cheese would give better results, but these have more water in them which freezes very hard.
The proportions again are half cheese half cream. Beat them together well. Season with black pepper and freeze.
When you come to serve the ice cream, you may need to transfer it from the freezer to the fridge half and hour to an hour before needed so that it can soften a little, it depends on the temperature of your freezer.
A reminder that the original salad we were served was Corn salad, Tomatoes, Pine Nuts, Walnuts and Raisins with the Ice Cream in a mound on top. The waitress then dressed the salad with Olive oil and sherry vinegar before cutting up the ice cream and then folding it gently into the salad.
For my salad, pictured at the beginning of this post, I replaced the corn salad with some mild Endive leaves and I lightly toasted the nuts to bring out their flavour. The coolness of the ice cream combined with the slight bitterness of the leaves and the warmth of the nuts was wonderful, even on a cold wet day like today, and would be even better on a hot summers day.