10 October 2010

Fru Ingrid's Brunost Is (Brown Cheese Ice Cream) - Recipe

"Brunost ice cream. Are you sure?"

Oh yes.

"You're going to put brown goat's cheese in ... er ... ice cream?"

Indeed, I am.

"And then eat it?"

You bet.

I can't take all the credit for this unusual, but insanely delicious, invention. In fact, I can't take any credit, as it is the creation of Ingrid Hov Lunde from the wonderful Røisheim Inn in Bøverdalen. I admit I was more than a touch sceptical when this dish was first presented to me there, but Fru Ingrid had prepared a truly astounding dessert of marinated wild berries that was served with brunost ice cream. It was utterly gorgeous.

For those that don't know, brunost (also known as geitost) is a traditional Norwegian cheese that is made from the whey of goats' milk that has been boiled until the sugars have caramelised, giving it its distinctive brown colour. It has an unusual salty and sweet flavour to it, and tastes nothing like cheese (for more on brunost you can read my earlier post here).

The more I thought about it, the more I realised how perfect the confluence of these flavours is: vanilla ice cream mixed with salty, caramelised 'cheese', with notes of burnt sugar and even the merest hint of coffee. In fact, it is very similar to the well-established and equally delicious salted caramel ice cream. So when I received a belated birthday gift of a much wished-for ice cream machine, I knew exactly what I was going to attempt to make first.
Ingrid has her own recipe for brunost ice cream in her excellent cookbook, Fru Ingrid på Røisheim, but I decided to improvise and make my own, using a standard vanilla ice cream recipe as the base. I used an extra rich brunost called stølstype, which is a dark, traditional style of brunost and resembles that which would have been made on old seter (a summer farm house). Ingrid also lists the recipe for the marinated berries I originally had with it, but I skipped that this time, preferring the pure hit of brunost ice cream instead. It's quite rich, so a little goes a long way. For variation you could also add some crushed green or brown cardamom pods to the milk at the steeping stage.

Ingredients (makes about 1ltr of ice cream)
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 200ml cream (around 40% fat)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 100-120g brunost (Norwegian brown cheese)
  • ½ a vanilla pod
  1. Put the milk and cream into a saucepan and add the sliced brunost to it
  2. Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and place seeds and pod into the milk/cream
  3. Gently heat the milk/cream until it has almost boiled and the brunost has melted. Stir constantly.
  4. Remove from the heat and leave for half an hour to let the vanilla infuse into the milk
  5. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolk and the sugar until pale and fluffy
  6. Sieve the milk/cream mix and slowly pour onto the beaten egg yolks, stirring constantly
  7. Place the mixture into a clean saucepan and heat gently until it has almost boiled, stirring constantly so the mixture doesn't curdle. The custard should thicken and it is ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  8. Place the mixture into a pouring jug and put in the fridge until it is cool
  9. Slowly pour the mixture into an ice cream machine (make sure you have turned the machine on before you start pouring) and churn until almost frozen but still smooth (around 30 minutes)
  10. Eat straight away or keep in freezer until needed