Tuesday, September 1, 2015

goat cheese cheesecake

the pineapple compote is hiding something

No matter what I do, my cheesecakes crack. I've tried everything—baking in a water bath, baking veeery slowly in 275 degree oven, baking until the center is exactly 150 degrees, immediately running a knife along the edge of the pan, letting the cake cool slowly in oven with the door slightly ajar—in the end, they still crack.

It's okay if your cheesecake cracks. Just cover it with something. Caramel, chocolate, fresh fruit, cooked fruit, take your pick. Whoever gets the slice with the crack you are trying to hide is the lucky individual that gets more yummy topping seeping into the fissures.

On the off chance this goat cheese cheesecake doesn't crack, all it needs is a generous layer of honey. But strategically placed fresh figs, berries, or fruit compote are all perfectly acceptable additions.

goat cheese cheesecake

for the crust
1 speculoos cookie crust
melted butter for brushing on the pan

for the cheesecake
1 pound cream cheese (2 bars), at room temperature
8 ounces mild plain chevre
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

make the crust
Follow the instructions for the speculoos cookie crust. Set the crust aside while you prepare the filling.

prep the water bath
Bring a kettle of water to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer until you are ready to use it.

make the batter
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and goat cheese with the paddle attachment until low, about 5 seconds. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

With the mixer running, slowly add one egg at a time, beat for 15 seconds after each addition and scrape down the bowl. Make sure the mixture is smooth before adding the next egg. After the last egg is evenly mixed in, pour in the heavy cream and mix until evenly incorporated.

prep the pan
Carefully wrap the outside of the springform pan with two layers of large heavy-duty aluminum foil (to prevent water seeping into the crust) and set this inside a larger roasting pan.

Brush melted butter on the sides of the springform pan, taking care not to disrupt the crust.

bake the cheesecake
Pour the filling into the crust. Put the springform into a larger roasting pan that is deep enough to hold 2 - 3 inches of water. Transfer the roasting pan with springform inside onto the middle oven rack and pour boiling water around the pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the pan.

Turn the oven down to 300 degrees F and bake for 60 - 70 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the middle center is still jiggly but the sides are set and start to puff.

Turn off the oven and prop the door ajar with the handle of a wooden spoon and let it cool in the water bath for another hour.

chill overnight
Take the cake out of the oven and run a paring knife along the sides of the pan and let it cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 1 day before serving (can be kept up to 3 days but crust will start to get soggy after 24 hours).

optional honey syrup
Whisk 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 teaspoon of water and pour over cheesecake before serving.

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