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Goat Cheese and Citrus Cheesecake with Honey

Serves: Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 11 ounces fresh, mild goat cheese
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons honey


Procedures:

This recipe is based on a classic ricotta cheesecake with a generous measure of goat cheese added. It lends a mellow, acidic flavor that makes guests sit up and take notice of what is often plain-Jane, second fiddle to New York cheesecake. Not anymore. This is for those who like their cheesecake a little less creamy, a little bit lighter, and bursting with flavor. Serve with the best fruit of the season. If you’ve ever eaten goat cheese paired with sweet, ripe fruit, you’ll know it’s a natural.

Preheat the oven to 325°F and position an oven rack in the center. Lightly coat a 9 or 10-inch spring-form pan with butter or cooking spray.

To make the crust: Place the crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl and stir with a fork to moisten the crumbs evenly. With a silicone spatula, scrape the crumbs into the prepared pan. Press the crumbs in an even layer across the bottom of the pan, working outward from the center. Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes until set and lightly browned. Transfer to a rack to cool, leaving the oven on.

To make the filling: Place the goat cheese and sugar in the bowl of the food processor and process until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl once with the spatula. Add the ricotta cheese and process until incorporated and smooth, about 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl halfway through. Be sure there are no lumps left (you won’t be able to smooth them out later). Add the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and orange and lemon zests and process until well blended, about 20 seconds. Scrape the mixture into the cooled crust.

To bake the cheesecake: Set the cheesecake pan on the baking sheet (in case of leakage). Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the edge is set but the center still has a 1-inch wide pool of liquid batter (it will firm up during cooling and chilling).

Transfer the cheesecake to a cooling rack and immediately run a thin, flexible knife or spatula around the edge the cake, gently pressing into the side of the pan to avoid gouging the cake from the side of the pan and prevent cracking as it cools. Let the cheesecake cool completely, 1 to 2 hours. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours prior to serving.

To unmold the cheesecake: Run a thin knife or spatula around the cake edge again, as described above. Pop the side off the pan. Use an icing spatula to loosen the bottom of the cake from the pan and then slide it off the pan bottom onto a cake cardboard or a serving plate.

To serve: Cut the cheesecake into wedges with a thin, sharp knife pulling the knife out at the bottom of the cake to keep the surface of the cake smooth and beautiful. Dip the knife in hot water and then wipe dry after each slice. Drizzle each slice with honey and serve.

Recipe developed for Sur La Table’s Cooking Classes

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