Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lemon Goat cheese Cheesecake

All these years I've been eating goat cheese and only recently discovered a recipe calling for it as a main star in a cheesecake. WHO KNEW?

I have so much to say about this it could be a novel. I'll keep it terse, for your sake.

First. If you make this, know your audience. Goat cheese is such a love or hate relationship- a black or white thing- rarely have I met a person who simply "doesn't mind it". No no. It's usually either i-love-it or i-abhor-it. Not knowing what to expect the first time around, I simply baked it as a summer treat for our family and what do you know? Three of us loved it, and the fourth did not (I will not mention the latter's name though suffice it to say, he's a grown adult). I think that's a great sign if a toddler and infant go back for seconds. Having that said, I would be cautious serving this as the main dessert to a large group of people- you're bound to have one or two palates unaccustomed goat cheese's "tart/tangy" flavor.

Second. If you are a fan, I think it's safe to say you will love it. It's so creamy and rich, satisfying and the best lemony accent ever. It's "cheesecakey" in that it closely resembles both texture and flavor of a normal cheesecake except because of the goat cheese there is an inherent "tang" or "tartness". To me it wasn't as heavy as a normal cheesecake- it seemed to be fluffier and lighter.

Third. If you are a fan, part 2, it's a dangerous thing to have around. Quite seriously. We ate ours within a day and a half. No sweat. No problem.

Fourth: the only thing that could make this a titch better, hard to imagine, would be some kind of fruit sauce to slather over it: homemade blueberry sauce.. fruit preserves.. nutella.. whipped cream. That sorta stuff.

Lemon Goat cheese Cheesecake

{Luscious Lemon Desserts by Lori Longbotham}

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ stick unsalted butter, melted

2 cups sugar

¼ cup finely grated lemon zest (3-4 big lemons)

1 ½ lbs soft, mild goat cheese*

8-ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup fresh lemon juice

8 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9” springform pan. Have ready a roasting pan (if you choose to bake it in a water bath- I did NOT bake it in a water bath). Boil some water to have ready for the hot water bath.

Stir the crumbs and melted butter together in a bowl until well combined. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake about 8 minutes until the crust is just set and then remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 325.

Process the sugar and the zest in a food processor until the zest is finely ground. Beat the goat cheese and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar mixture and lemon juice, beating until smooth (be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl a number of times during this process). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Wrap the outside of the springform pan with heavy foil. Pour the filling into the pan (the one with the baked crustJ). Place this in a large roasting pan. Carefully pour in boiling water inside the roasting pan (but not getting into the pie) until the water reaches about halfway about the springform pan**.

Bake for 1 hour and 30-40 minutes until the center is almost set. Do not over bake- cheesecakes firm up during the cooling process. Check on the baking around 1 hour and see how it is doing- at that point, you can better gauge how much longer is required.

Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and set it in an ice water bath for 10 minutes (do NOT submerge the entire thing in water- just enough ice water to reach the halfway point of the pan). If you didn’t bake the cheesecake in a hot water bath, forgo this step and simply allow it to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Remove the foil and refrigerate the cake for at least 8 hours.

Let it stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes until serving. Enjoy!

*I only used a 1-lb log of goat cheese and substituted in 4 ounces of cream cheese , in addition to the 8 –ounces already called for.

** Baking a cheesecake in a hot water bath ensures even and “soft” baking. I chose to forgo this technique this time around simply because my roasting pan is tucked away in storage somewhere- you may call it pure laziness. My cheesecake still turned out evenly cooked and perfectly baked. You just have to watch it very carefully and remove it from the oven when the middle is still partially “jiggly”. Just a little jiggle. Not a lot of jiggle. We don't want a soggy cheesecake.

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