Simple Goat Cheese Appetizers and Dessert
Even More Recipes Using Goat Cheese.
Reading Time: 5 minutes
It’s that time of the year when most likely all your goat kids are weaned and you have all that luscious goat milk to yourself. And boy can it add up quickly. So here are a few fun recipes for you to try and some delicious appetizers and a dessert to put them in.
Now neither of these cheeses are traditionally made with goat milk, but they work really well with any milk so why not goat? They are very quick and easy to make and they’re versatile to use in an assortment of fun recipes.
First up, Paneer. This is a simple, direct-acidification, fresh cheese that is probably best known for its use in many Indian cuisine dishes. It is very similar in texture and flavor to tofu and is often used in the same way. It is mild and has little actual flavor of its own, so it absorbs the flavors of whatever you put it in — usually spicy and saucy dishes like Saag Paneer or Butter Masala Paneer. But for a fun twist, one of my students from my Virtual 7 Day Cheese Challenge course, Jill Williams from Sweet Williams Farm in Canton, Georgia, made this into a yummy appetizer similar to fried mozzarella. Says Jill, “One of my favorite foods has always been cheese. Being allergic to the protein in cows milk and wheat allergies, I’m so thankful to be able to make a quick and easy dish that’s straight from our farm and that I am able to eat that’s gluten-free and made from our raw goats milk here on the farm.”
Because this cheese is highly acidified, it doesn’t melt which means you can grill it, sauté it, or yes, even fry it! While not one of the typical goat cheese recipes, appetizers made with this cheese can be quite delicious.
- Stainless steel pot (2 Qt. or 1 Gallon) w/ lid
- Slotted spoon and regular spoon or whisk
- Butter muslin (very fine cheesecloth)
- Colander or strainer
- Small plate
- Cheese thermometer
- Jug of water
- 1 gallon milk
- 1 tsp citric acid
- ½ cup warm water
- Heat milk to 190 degrees F, stirring regularly to keep from scalding.
- Once at 190, turn off the heat and let rest for 15 minutes.
- While milk is resting, dissolve the citric acid in warm water.
- Cool milk to 170 degrees (you can put the pot in an ice bath to speed this up if needed).
- Add the citric acid solution, stirring gently. Curds should develop and separate from the whey. Once this happens, stop stirring and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Scoop curds into a colander or strainer lined with butter muslin. Let drain for 10 minutes.
- Gather the muslin and twist around the curds, squeezing them into a firm ball.
- Place a plate on top of the ball of curds in the strainer and set a gallon jug of water on top. Let it sit for 15 minutes (or longer for firmer cheese).
- Remove curds from butter muslin and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- When ready to use, you can cut it into cubes or strips. Paneer doesn’t melt when heated so it can be cooked or even grilled.
Sautéed Paneer with Marinara (from Jill Williams)
- Around half-pound fresh-made paneer, sliced
- 1/3 cup each buttermilk
- 1/3 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Dash of black pepper
Mix dry ingredients. Dip sliced paneer into whey to wet it enough for the batter to stick. Coat the whey dipped paneer in the batter. Pan fry in extra virgin olive oil. Serve hot with your favorite marinara sauce.
A second recipe that is traditionally made with cow milk but easily adapted to goat milk is a German staple called quark. If you’re not familiar with quark, I can best describe it as yogurt’s milder cousin. It’s got a long ripening and coagulating time (24 hours), but you do very little other than wait with this cheese, so it’s perfect for people who are too busy to make cheese (as many goat owners are)! The end result can be something creamy and spoonable like yogurt or something thicker and closer to the consistency of chèvre or Fromage blanc. It all depends on how long you let it drain. It can be used much like yogurt and I’m including both an appetizer and a dessert recipe, each provided by cheesemaking students of mine.
Quark recipe (adapted for goat milk)
- Stainless steel pot (2 Qt. or 1 gallon) w/ lid
- Cheese, frothing, or digital thermometer
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Slotted spoon
- Butter muslin (very fine cheesecloth)
- Colander or strainer
- 1 gallon goat milk
- 1/8 tsp Mesophilic culture
- 4 drops of rennet (diluted in ¼ cup non-chlorinated water)
- 1/2 tsp non-iodized salt
- HEAT: Heat pasteurized milk to 70 degrees F in a large pot.
- CULTURE: Sprinkle 1/8 tsp Mesophilic culture on the surface of the milk. Let sit for a minute or two to rehydrate and then stir in. Continue heating to 78 degrees. Remove from heat.
- COAGULATE: Dilute 4 drops of liquid rennet in 1/4 cup non-chlorinated water and then stir gently into milk. Cover pot and let sit at room temp for 24 hours.
- SCOOP: Gently ladle the curds into fine cheesecloth (butter muslin). Tie up cloth and hang to drip for about 2-3 hours for smooth and creamy or 4-6 hours for a thicker dryer consistency.
- SALT: Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and place in a bowl. Sprinkle up to 1/2 tsp of non-iodized salt on it and work the salt into the cheese with a fork.
- EAT: Eat the creamier version plain or with jam, honey, or fresh fruit. Or use the thicker version to bake with. Use within 2 weeks.
Spundekäse (from Jacque Phillips)
- 200 g (approx. 7 oz.) Frischkäse (soft, spreadable cream cheese)
- 250 g (approx. 9 oz.) quark
- 1 small onion, very finely chopped or ½ tsp onion powder
- 1 clove of garlic, very finely chopped or ⅛ tsp powdered garlic
- Ground sweet paprika to taste about 2- 3 tsp
- Pretzels to serve
Most of the recipes suggest blending the onion and garlic into a pulp, but you can also use very finely chopped which will add a subtle crunch to the spread. Mix the onion and garlic together with the soft cheeses until you have a very smooth and creamy dip and then add paprika, stirring, until it’s a slightly reddish color. Serve your Spundekäse with pretzels or bread.
German Cheesecake with Quark (from Heike Pfankuch)
- 200 g (approx.1 cup) flour
- 75 g (approx. 1/3 cup) sugar
- 75 g (approx. 1/3 cup) butter or margarine
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 125 g (approx. 2/3 cup) butter or margarine
- 200 g (approx. 1 cup) sugar
- 2 drops vanilla
- ¼ tsp lemon juice
- 1 pkg vanilla pudding (not instant)
- 3 eggs
- 500 g (approx 2 cups) quark
- 200 g (approx. 3/4 cup) whipping cream
- 100 g (approx. 1/3 cup) sour cream
Mix all the ingredients for the dough together and set aside.
For the filling: Mix butter, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla with the pudding powder and 3 eggs together. Add the quark and the sour cream mix well. Whip the cream and stir into the quark mix.
Place dough into a springform pan and press firmly into the form. Pour filling into the form and bake at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour (depending on your oven it may only take 50 min. to bake so check on it close to finish time).
I hope you’ll try some of these simple and delicious goat cheese recipes, appetizers, and dessert. They aren’t what we typically think of as “goat cheese” but they’ll work great with all that excess milk you likely have at this time of year!
Originally published in the September/October 2020 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.