When I read about the theme of the Monthly Mingle for May “Oh, Honey!” hosted by Sneh from the admirable blog Cook Republic, I knew I was in. (The whole Monthly Mingle originally is organised by Meeta.) I immediatly had to think of one of my secret (or not so secret) food addictions: goat cream cheese with honey from our nearby supermarket that I could bath in. In general, I think that cheese combined with sweets like chutneys, jams, fruits like pears, figs or grapes is one of the best flavour combination on earth turning into a great explosion of your taste buds. Add a nice glass of wine… do you need anything more?!
So back to this deliiicious honey infused goat cream cheese. I decided to take this as an inspiration for my honey dish and turn the whole thing into little truffles, introducing a third ingredient – a perfect pair for honey, and cheese: walnuts. A funny coincidence: Just when I decided to go for this combination I saw the beautiful chart “Ingredients that pair well with honey” by Lisa. So, the idea for those little sweet-savory flavour bombs was born: goat cheese with a walnut-honey-core, perfect to spread onto bread, serve as starter or snack with crackers or/and fruits. The honey I chose I had bought a while ago from a regional beekeeper. It is a creamy, but still viscous spring flower honey with a mild taste.
Alternatively you can – like I did with the one half of my ingredients – combine the components to a decorative layered goat cream cheese which for sure will make some impression as a gift.
To raise the bar I decided to make not only the truffles, but also the goat cream cheese I needed for them. I already have some experience with homemade dairy products, although I’ve concentrated on the fresh ones like yoghurt, cream cheese, paneer and mozarella so far. It is not very complicated to make them at home and you don’t need a full cheesemaking equipment. Cheesecloth and a thermometer is basically what you need. Cream cheese – whether you make it from cow, goat or sheep milk or replace the milk by heavy cream – is one of the most easiest cheese making projects and therefore the best one to start with. The secret is acid, which makes the milk curdle. The texture and firmness again depends on the time you strain the curds. After 2 hours (plus cooling time in the fridge) the result will be a shapeable firm cream cheese.
Goat cream cheese truffles with walnut and honey / Layered goat cream cheese
I devided the goat cream cheese and the walnut-honey dough into two roughly equal portions and made 1 jar of layered cream cheese and about 25 truffles. So, the yield will be double if you choose to make only of version.
Also check out these truffles hors d’oeuvre as well as these goat cream cheese truffles with dark chocolate and pepper.
1 l goat milk, 1/2 teaspoon citric acid, 1/2 teaspoon salt
100 g walnuts, 2 tablespoons honey
Goat cream cheese:
Prepare your equipment for cheese making: line a colander with cheese cloth and place it over a large, fitting bowl.
Pour goat milk into a big pot and heat up until boiling. Remove from heat and add citric acid while stirring. Let the pot sit for about 5 minutes. The citric acid (alternatively you can use lemon juice) will make the milk curdle.
Pour curdled milk slowly into colander. Don’t press, but let the curds strain slowly for about 2 hour until you have a quite firm cream cheese left over in the cloth and remaining whey in the bowl. Fill cream cheese into another bowl and add salt. Refrigerate before further processing. It will firm more as it cools.
Cheese truffles with walnut and honey / Layered goat cream cheese:
Roast walnuts in hot pan without oil until you can smell the nutty flavour. Let them cool down a bit, than ground them in your food processor. Put about two tablespoons of walnuts aside for decoration.
Combine grounded walnuts and honey. I suggest to start working with a tablespoon, then carrying on with your hands kneading walnuts and honey into a dough that you can form into a ball.
Now either fill cream cheese and walnut-honey-dough in layers into small jars or glasses. As the walnut-honey-dough is more firm than the cream cheese, bring it into the right shape with your hands, before layering it on the cream cheese.
If you choose to make the little truffles, form little balls from the walnut-honey-dough. Wrap each of these with goat cream cheese and roll into balls with your hands. It is basically the same procedure like making chocolates, f.ex. these praline marzipan chocolates I made a while ago. Last step: carefully coat truffles with remaining grounded walnuts and put each for them in small chocolate forms.
Store in the fridge for up to a week.