Whenever I've watched a cooking show where they give the contestants ("cheftestants?!") a bunch of ingredients and say, go make something, I've always been amazed at the things people come up with. So I thought it would be really fun to play this game. There was no way my husband would eat anything I produced for this (He hates feta cheese.), but that actually gave me some freedom--I could play around with the ingredients and not have to worry about whether he would actually like what I made. So with the challenge of the three ingredients, I thought...dessert. (Which is what I think generally, so that wasn't a stretch.) I was inspired by David Lebovitz's Goat Cheese Custard. For this recipe, I used a fairly creamy sheep's milk feta, and while it was sitting out to get to room temperature, I let it soak in milk to cut the saltiness a little. (It also made it creamier and easier to blend. Which I found out by not doing that the first time I made these.) I think the cooking time can vary a lot based on the size of your ramekins--mine are on the big side; if you have small ones, it could take less time so check frequently. Chop the mint as fine as you can. (Mine would have looked better had I chopped the mint a little finer. Actually, if I were doing it again, I probably wouldn't sprinkle mint on the top--I would just blend it through, but there you go.) You can use milk or half and half in place of the heavy cream, but it's 1/2 cup of cream for 4 servings, so I say live a little. If you try this, I hope you have as much fun as I did creating it. (Amanda and Merrill, can we please have next week's challenge be Your Best Use of Leftover Egg Whites?) —drbabs
feta cheese, room temperature. (Wash off the brine and let it sit in a dish of milk while it's coming to room temperature. Drain the milk before using.)
cream cheese, room temperature
juice of blood oranges, strained (2-3 oranges, depending on size)
blood orange zest (I just zested the oranges before I cut and juiced them; measurement is guesstimate)
fresh mint, chopped fine
In This Recipe
Preheat oven to 350. Place 4 ramekins in a deep baking dish.
In a stand mixer (if possible), blend together the feta and cream cheeses till whipped and creamy. Beat in sugar, till thoroughly incorporated (about a minute).
Add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.
Add cream, juice and zest, and beat to blend completely. Stir in some of the chopped mint. Mixture should be very smooth.
Divide the mixture into the custard cups. Sprinkle a little fresh mint over the top of each custard (or not--it would probably look better if you didn't, but I did).
Add warm tap water to the baking pan, to make a water bath for baking the custards. The water should reach to about halfway up the side of each custard cup.
Cover pan with foil, and bake for about 20 minutes until firm.
Remove custards from water bath and cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator. Can be served cold or at room temperature.