Friday, February 17, 2012

Mixed Berry-Balsamic Cobbler with Homemade Goat Cheese Ice Cream

I have recently discovered a flavor combination of berries, balsamic vinegar, and goat cheese for dessert. I thought that is was really interesting, and certainly odd... but, I knew that I should try it. I ended up buying some blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries at the grocery store, and I decided to make a mixed berry cobbler with a balsamic reduction. I wasn't quite sure how I would incorporate the goat cheese at first, but finally it hit me that I wanted to make a Goat Cheese Ice Cream to place on top of the warm cobbler. Wow, I never thought I would like it, but I loved this dessert! All of these crazy components somehow worked. The balsamic reduction syrup gave it a really nice acidity and balanced out all of the sweetness from the berries. I especially loved the homemade ice cream. It doesn't necessarily scream goat cheese, but had the signature tang that I crave. It almost tasted like a cheesecake ice cream. And that's never a bad thing. If you aren't a fan of goat cheese, then you can always substitute it with vanilla ice cream. But that's boring, so if you have an ice cream maker, definitely try this unique flavor. We placed a large scoop of the cobbler in a bowl and topped it with the ice cream, and finally finished it with a drizzle of leftover balsamic reduction!! Enjoy :)
Mixed Berry-Balsamic Cobbler with Homemade Goat Cheese Ice Cream
The ice cream is starting to melt.. this is the best part
Look at all that sticky-balsamic-fruity filling
For the Balsamic Reduction:
¾C High Quality Balsamic Vinegar
¼C Brown Sugar

For the Mixed Berry-Balsamic Cobbler:
1C Fresh Blueberries
1C Fresh Raspberries
1C Fresh Blackberries
1C Fresh Strawberries, Chopped into Bite-Sized Cubes
2T Cornstarch
2-4T Prepared Balsamic Reduction (to your taste… I used 3T)
2T Honey
1T Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1 Lemon, Juiced & Zested

For the Cobbler Topping:
1 ½C AP Flour
¾C Light Brown Sugar, Packed
1 ½ Sticks of Unsalted Butter, Softened
¼t Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt

For the Goat Cheese Ice Cream:
2C Whole Milk
1T + 1t Cornstarch
½C Goat Cheese (or about 4oz)
3T Cream Cheese (or 1 ½oz)
¼t Sea Salt
1 ¼C Heavy Cream
2/3C Sugar
¼C Light Corn Syrup    

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking dish with Pam. Set it aside.
2. To Make the Balsamic Reduction: Bring the vinegar to a boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer. When it reduces halfway, add in the brown sugar. Simmer some more until the vinegar become thick & syrupy and sticks to the back of a wooden spoon, about 15-20 minutes. As it cools, it will also thicken up. Set it aside until it has thickened and the berry filling is ready.
3. For the Mixed Berry-Balsamic Filling: In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, lemon zest, and cornstarch. In a large mixing bowl, toss together all of the different berries until they are mixed evenly throughout. Sprinkle the cornstarch mixture over the berries and toss to coat. Next, drizzle in the balsamic reduction and honey over the fruit, followed by the lemon juice and toss to combine until completely coated. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
4. For the Cobbler Topping: In a mixing bowl, using a pastry blender, combine the flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and salt together until it forms large clumps of dough. Refrigerate them for 1-2 hours.
5. Once the cobbler topping has chilled, crumble it over the fruit filling until completely covered. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and serve with the homemade Goat Cheese Ice Cream and an extra drizzle of Balsamic Reduction.
6. For the Goat Cheese Ice Cream: In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry. Set it aside. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the goat cheese, cream cheese and salt until smooth. Set it aside. Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water. Using a 4-quart saucepan, combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, and boil for exactly 4 minutes (the mixture will rise as it boils, so keep an eye on it). Remove from the heat. Make sure your cornstarch slurry is still well mixed. Slowly drizzle the slurry into your hot milk mixture while whisking vigorously (otherwise, the slurry will form a film on the bottom of the pan). Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring vigorously, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Pour the custard into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes to an hour. Pour the ice cream base into your ice cream maker, and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the ice cream into a storage container and press a sheet of parchment paper directly on the surface of the ice cream and cover with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. Once frozen, serve a scoop of the goat cheese ice cream on top of the warm mixed berry-balsamic cobbler with a drizzle of some more balsamic reduction as garnish.

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