Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cheesecake from our own goats

By popular demand, the recipe for goat cheese cheesecake, for those times when you have too much of everything.

A dairy goat in full milk can produce more milk than a family of three to drink or pour over cereal. Meggie has been very generous all summer, and we are getting creative. The garden is going full force. We are eating   our fill of fruits and vegetables; though we love it, we sometimes crave a treat. I wanted a dessert that felt indulgent and that  balanced out a dinner of fresh, raw foods.

This cheesecake uses honey, yogurt, cheese, and eggs from the farm. If you have a milk goat and chickens, and are comfortable making yogurt, this is pretty standard fare. But outside the farm, you won't run into this cheesecake. Its texture is denser, less lush, and slightly grainier than restaurant cheesecake. Although still very rich, it doesn't have the creaminess I am used to. I think of it as more like a custard in a graham cracker crust. My friend Sally has her own name for it - maybe she'll post it as a comment.

I apologize in advance that either this dessert tastes better than it looks, or I simply was not creative enough to take a glamour shot of it.

Cheesecake recipe

6 graham crackers
3 tbsp butter
1 Cup chevre or well drained yogurt cheese
1/2 cup yogurt (preferably goat's milk)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 or 2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp flour (if using yogurt cheese instead of chevre)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Assemble a spring form pan.

Melt the butter, and crumble the crackers, either by hand or in a food processor by pulsing 8 to 10 times. Mix the melted butter into the crumbs with 2 or 3 pulses. While making this recipe, I noticed that all the other buttons on my processor are new, but the "Pulse" button is worn out. Things tell their own stories, don't they?

Pat the crumbs out onto the bottom of the spring form pan. Bake the crust at 350 for 10 minutes, remove and cool while mixing the filling.

Reduce oven to 300.

While the crust is cooling, wipe the inside of the processor to remove crumbs. Place all the other ingredients in the processor, in the bowl of a mixer, or in a large bowl, and mix well. The flour gives the cheesecake a stronger set - if you use chevre from the store, omit flour for a more ethereal texture.

If you mix by hand, start by stirring the chevre until its well broken up. Then beat in the sugar till fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, then the other ingredients. However I find a kitchen appliance with a powerful motor is a big help with this!

The filling will have a very unpromising texture. It resembles eggnog in thickness, and if it didn't contain raw eggs I'd be tempted to taste it. It's probably yummy. But it looks like it will fail. Don't despair! Remind yourself again that this is sort of like custard.

Pour the mixture into the spring form. Place a cookie sheet on the bottom of the oven in case it drips, and slide the pan onto the middle rack. Bake 45 minutes and test. The center should jiggle like gelatin when you gently tilt the pan, but not slosh. A knife inserted in will displace the filling but should not come out clean. It should still be quite tender. If it's too gloopy, put it back for another 5 minutes, check again and repeat as needed.

Allow it to cool fully, then refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. (Author's note - this never really happens. It's actually fine after an hour). Unmold the spring form, and set the bottom out on a plate.

You can top this with fruit or jam. Quince paste is one of our favorites, but it's pretty good on its own, too.

Tonight we are serving slices with a choice of blueberries, raspberries or blackberries. It's a very substantial dessert, almost like a second dinner. Late summer at Several Gardens Farm feels pretty good.

Post a Comment