I have long had an affection for goat cheese but only recently started experimenting with goat's milk. This ice cream, adapted from My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson (Ten Speed Press 2010), is one of the happy results. Cajeta is a sweet caramel made from goat's (or cow's) milk and sugar cooked down to syrup. Store-bought versions are available, but it's easy to make your own. You can add nuts, cookie pieces or chocolate to the ice cream.
Makes about 5 cups
2 cups goat's milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
7 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 to 10 ounces cajeta, homemade (recipe below) or store-bought
3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans or hazelnuts, 1 cup broken pieces galletas marias (cookies found in many Latin markets) or 3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate (optional)
Combine milk and sugar, 1/2 cup heavy cream and salt in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Whisk the egg yolks in a large heat-proof bowl, slowly pour about half the hot milk mixture into the yolks, whisking continuously, then return the mixture to the pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon or spatula, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Place the cajeta in a bowl. If you are using a store-bought version in a glass jar, unscrew the lid, screw it on again lightly, place in a pot and fill the pot three-fourths of the way up the sides with hot water. Warm over medium-low heat and let simmer about 5 minutes, then carefully remove the jar from the hot water with a towel. This will allow you to pour the cajeta much more easily.
Strain the milk mixture into the cajeta. Add the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream, stir to combine and chill over an ice bath, stirring continuously. Refrigerate, covered, until completely cool, about 3 hours. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Incorporate any nuts, cookies or chocolate by hand once the ice cream has finished churning. Freeze until fully set.
Makes 1 cup
4 cups goat's (or cow's) milk
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or 3 tablespoons brandy
1/4 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
Combine milk, sugar and salt in a medium, tall, heavy-duty pot. Scrape the vanilla bean into the pot and add the pod (if using vanilla extract or brandy, do not add yet). Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom. Remove from heat, add baking soda and stir carefully, as it will bubble and steam up. When the bubbling has stopped, return to heat.
Adjust heat so mixture is at a constant simmer, stirring often so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Once it has turned a golden color, stir more often.
Cook until thick and a dark caramel color, about 1 hour. (It will get thicker and stickier as it cools.) If using vanilla extract or brandy, add it now, being careful not to burn yourself because it may steam a little.
Allow to cool before using. Remove the vanilla bean.
If you think it has thickened too much once it's cooled, just stir in a little warm water.