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
- Serves 4
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
- 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.