I recently had a chance to try a second type of french cheese from Ile de France. I had really enjoyed the Camembert I tasted a few months ago, so I was eager to taste the goat cheese to see what I thought of it. I enjoy using goat cheese in recipe for the creamy zing it adds to dishes. I wanted to taste the cheese on its own, but also decided to use the cheese in a couple different recipes.
I have determined that I like this type of goat cheese (the dryer, crumbly log type) for using in recipes, but I prefer other cheeses when I'm just eating with crackers or something simple. The Ile de France goat cheese is not a bad one-- in fact, I found it to have a nice tangy, creamy taste. I think it's a texture thing, though, that makes me prefer softer, more spreadable cheese when creating a cheese platter. For recipes, though, this simple goat cheese was a great addition to any dish needing an extra layer of flavor.
First, two dishes without pictures to illustrate. I love adding a chunk of goat cheese to mashed potatoes, especially now that it's fall and mashed potatoes seem so appropriate. Just mix the goat cheese in with some heavy cream and salt and pepper; instantly your mashed potatoes will be elevated to a new level. I also used this Ile de France goat cheese on top of a fresh place of spaghetti with marinara sauce. If you add crumbles on top of the hot sauce, it will melt in an add great flavor to the sauce.
I also wanted to use the goat cheese in a recipe, especially since Ile de France is hosting a recipe contest. In keeping with the French background of this cheese, I decided a tart would be the perfect dish. For nice fall flavors, I sauteed crimini mushrooms with shallots and garlic, then added artichoke hearts to the mix. I made a custard of eggs, cream, and goat cheese, and poured it on top of the tart. The result was rich and creamy tasting, with earthy vegetables complementing the goat cheese flavored custard. The buttery crust held it all together. I can't wait to have a dinner party sometime soon, because I know this will make an impressive started with a simple salad.
Pâte Brisée- Adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini by Clotilde Dusoulier
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2-4 tsp ice cold water
In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and butter. Pulse about 10 seconds, until it resembles coarse meal. Add the egg and mix again for a few seconds, until the dough starts to come together into a ball. If the dough is too dry, add ice water 1 teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface, shape into a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3o minutes.
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
5 ounces crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp herbs de Provence
3 artichoke hearts, cut into eighths
salt and pepper
1/4 cup cream
5 ounces goat cheese, softened
First, make your Pâte Brisée. Let it chill for at least 30 minutes, then let stand at room temperature before using it.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees while you work on the tart filling. While the dough is resting, heat the olive oil in a saute pan. Add the shallot and garlic and saute for about 2 minutes, until softened. Add the crimini mushrooms and saute about three minutes more, stirring to avoid burning the onions and garlic. Gently add the pieces of artichoke hearts, stirring carefully so they don't break apart. Season with herbs de Provence and salt and pepper. Set aside.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. For mini-tart pans, trace with a knife around each tart pan, leaving about 1/2 inch border around the tart pan. Press each circle of dough into the tart pans, cutting off any extra dough. Blind bake the tart shells for about 10 minutes, until they start to turn golden.
In a blender, mix the two eggs, heavy cream, and softened goat cheese.
Take each pre-baked tart shell and carefully heap the artichoke and mushroom mixture into the shell. Pour the goat cheese mix on top, being careful not to have it overflow. Bake the tarts for about 15 minutes, until the custard is completely set and does not jiggle when you shake the pan.