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Today: These toppings and swirl-ins are anything but baaaaaah-d.
We’re ready for the dog days, the blanket of humidity, and everything else summer heat brings. And our compliance has nothing to do with air conditioning; the real reason is simple: Ice cream—specifically, goat cheese ice cream.
The tangy, ultra-creamy flavor is what you’d expect from a dessert made with fresh goat cheese, and it’s a frozen dream for those who hope to incorporate cheese into every meal. Like its star ingredient (we used Le Cornilly), this ice cream pairs well with flavors that are sweet, savory, salty, and everything in between, whether it be fig jam, roasted peaches, or sautéed dates swathed in olive oil and sea salt. The toppings and swirl-in possibilites are as endless as our love for ice cream, so here are seven ideas to get you started:
Sautéed dates are an effortless wonder. They soften from the heat of the pan, and accentuate the fruit's not-too-sweet caramel flavor. Serve them warm or cold atop the ice cream—drizzling (or pooling) some olive oil on there, too. Finish with a pinch or more of sea salt, if you like.
Goat cheese ice cream's soothing tang contrasts this heady honey that's infused with chilies. For the heat averse, try a tamer, ad hoc version with a drizzle of regular honey and smattering of freshly ground black pepper.
If there's anything better than toasted hazelnuts in caramelized sugar that are then dipped in chocolate, it's this brittle atop goat cheese ice cream. Go with large shards and use them as a makeshift spoon, or break them into smaller bits for a more refined approach.
It's like peaches and cream, but better. Rosemary adds a savory, earthy note, and you can also try thyme or even a little bit of ground cardamom. Do make the salted caramel sauce—no matter what—and use lavishly.
Here, cherries are soaked with a little bit of vodka, sugar, and half a vanilla bean before being thrown into a skillet. The cherries' juices reduce and thicken into a glaze. They taste even better as time goes on, meaning you'll have a stellar ice cream topping or swirl for at least a week (in the rare case it would last that long).
Pistachios are an even more delicious pairing for goat cheese when made into truffles with bittersweet chocolate and tart pomegranate molasses. Crumble the truffles onto (or into) the ice cream, and sprinkle on pomegranate seeds for some extra bite.
Makes 1 quart
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup (4 ounces) fresh goat cheese, like Le Cornilly
1/2 cup fig jam
Photos by Mark Weinberg (ice cream, dates, hot honey), Phyllis Grant (hazelnut brittle), James Ransom (peaches, truffles), and Linda Pugliese (cherries)