Tag Archives: Cheesecake

Goat Cheesecake with Blueberry-Gin Compote

Goat Cheesecake with Blueberry-Gin Compote

So I didn’t really plan or intend to take this much time off from blogging lately, but it sort of coincided with some nuttiness in my real job plus some incredibly loud construction going on across the street from my building. Like, metal pounding metal stakes into the ground. The sound is actually rather unnerving, and everything I tried to write just leeched out undertones of the inner rage I was feeling at the noise. Better to not subject anyone to that.

goat cheesecake with blueberry-gin compote

They seem to be taking a day off, so I’m writing out as many blog posts as I possibly can, while I can think clearly! Let’s talk goat cheese in a cheesecake. This is not a savory cheesecake at all, so the goat cheese isn’t terribly obvious in the flavor department. It’s more that it lends a background tanginess that cuts the sweetness of cheesecake, and mostly it provides creaminess to the texture.

Goat Cheesecake with Blueberry-Gin Compote

I was very much in love. Upon initially reading the recipe, I was a bit skeptical that the batter might not work properly. It just seemed like overkill to include sour cream, and ricotta, and goat cheese in addition to the cream cheese. But I was wrong, it works beautifully! This was among the creamiest and smoothest cheesecakes I’ve ever tasted, so I can’t complain about any perceived overabundance of batter ingredients.

Goat Cheesecake with Blueberry-Gin Compote

The blueberry sauce was really gorgeous, both to look at and to eat. You don’t taste the gin outright, but it does complement the sweet-tart nature of the blueberries, and the texture achieved here is divine. It’s really rich and smooth, but with those plump bursts of the whole blueberries added in. Cheesecake is always a labor of love and time, so I firmly believe it’s got to be completely worth it when you do make it. This one will not disappoint. Enjoy!

Goat Cheesecake with Blueberry-Gin Compote

Source: slightly adapted from Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends by Bryan Voltaggio

Ingredients:

CRUST:
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup plus 1 tbs graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
Pinch of kosher salt

FILLING:
12 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
10 oz. ricotta cheese
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup plus 7 tbs granulated sugar
2 ½ tbs sour cream
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp kosher salt
2 ½ tbs all-purpose flour

COMPOTE:
8 oz. blueberries, divided
½ tsp orange zest
½ tbs honey
½ tsp gin
Pinch of kosher salt

Directions:
For the CRUST: preheat the oven to 375 F. In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and salt. Mix until the mixture resembles wet sand. Pour the crumbs into a 9” springform pan and use a flat-bottomed drinking glass or measuring cup to press the crumbs evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake 9-12 minutes, until browned. Remove from the oven and let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 300 F.
Meanwhile, make the FILLING: mix the goat cheese, ricotta, cream cheese, granulated sugar, and sour cream in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until fully blended, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, waiting until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next one, followed by the yolks in the same fashion. Add the vanilla and salt. When they are incorporated, stop the mixer and add the flour. Mix on low speed until just blended.
Prepare the cheesecake for baking. Take two large strips of aluminum foil and lay them out on a flat surface so they overlap a bit. Tape them down the middle with sturdy packing tape or duct tape. Turn the foil over and tape the other side. You want no seam left flapping open. This is the only way I’ve found to ensure that no water seeps into your cheesecake. Set a tea kettle full of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Place the springform pan over the aluminum foil and tightly wrap the sides. Place the springform in a roasting pan. Carefully pour the filling into the crust, then add enough hot water to come halfway up the side of the pan. Bake for 60-75 minutes, until the sides are set and the center is jiggly but not liquidy. Shut off the oven and crack the door open. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 1 hour. This helps to prevent the dreaded cheesecake cracks. Remove the cake from the water bath and let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.
Right before you’re ready to serve, make the COMPOTE: put half of the fresh blueberries, the orange zest, honey, gin and salt in a small saucepot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and cook about 3-5 minutes, or until the blueberries are completely tender and soft. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve. Add the remaining blueberries and mix well. Cool slightly before serving.
Serve slices of the cheesecake with a nice dollop of compote.

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut, and Sage Cheesecake

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut and Sage Cheesecake

If you should ever find yourself looking for an extremely elegant and beyond delicious appetizer you could set out at a holiday (or other) party that will feed a small army, then you are in the right place. If you ever need an appetizer to blow people away, you’ve come to the right place. This is it.

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut and Sage Cheesecake

First of all, people will go, “Wow, you made a savory cheesecake?”. Secondly, well, you will completely blow them away with this dish. I would know. My darling husband and a decent handful of close friends plus some acquaintances are floating their way back to Earth right now because I served this to them.

Suffice it to say, everyone went crazy over it. It’s rich, filling, tangy, creamy, and unique. Also, it’s better the second day, so this is perfect make-ahead food for a party. And honestly, I can’t say enough good things about it!

savory gorgonzola, walnut and sage cheesecake

I’ve definitely done my part dabbling in dessert cheesecakes, but this was my first savory cheesecake. It’s something I’ve been curious about for awhile now, but I really had no idea if I would like it at all. I approached the whole endeavor with a bit of uncertainty, but I’m most assuredly now a savory cheesecake convert. I was thoroughly impressed with the whole thing.

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut and Sage Cheesecake

The crostini toasts are optional. I found it fun to smear the cheesecake on the little toasts, but it’s also delicious just eaten with a fork. (Or with your fingers when you’re pretty sure no one’s looking.). Enjoy!

Savory Gorgonzola, Walnut and Sage Cheesecake

Sources: adapted from Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein and The Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild

Ingredients:
CRUST:
1 ¾ cups fresh bread crumbs
1 cup grated parmesan
6 tbs unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of kosher salt

CHEESECAKE:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
4 oz. sour cream
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
6 oz. crumbled gorgonzola
2 tbs minced fresh sage
4 oz. walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 French baguette, sliced (optional)

Directions:
For the crust, preheat your oven to 350 F. Mix all crust ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-10” diameter well-greased springform cake pan. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust while preparing the filling. Maintain oven temperature.
For the filling, add the cream cheese and sour cream to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together until the mixture is fluffy. Add the salt and pepper, and with the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the heavy cream and mix until just combined, then add the gorgonzola, sage and walnuts. Mix gently until combined. Shut off the mixer.
Pour the filling into the cooled crust, then wrap the bottom of the cheesecake pan well with aluminum foil. Place the pan in a roasting pan or large, high-sided baking dish. Carefully pour hot water into the pan so that the top of the water level barely comes halfway up the cheesecake. Bake in the preheated oven for 70-90 minutes, until the cheesecake is lightly browned on top, slightly puffed and set on the sides and the center moves slightly when shaken. Remove from the oven, transfer to a rack and cool completely. Serve chilled or at room temperature. To serve, either slice and eat with a fork, or use a butter knife or cheese knife to smear a portion onto the baguette slices.

Banana Split Cheesecake Bars

Banana Split Cheesecake Bars

Summer is just about here! Matt and I just finalized our vacation plans (woohoo!) which of course includes the beach, and now that has me thinking about the dreaded swimsuit. And the dreaded swimsuit has me pondering body image issues as of late.

making cheesecake crust

I freely admit, I’ve struggled with body image issues my entire life. I am not petite in any way. I’m fairly tall, and I have what people politely call “an athletic figure,” meaning that I’m fairly curvy and not at all lanky. I have curvy hips and big boobs.

graham cracker peanut crust for cheesecake

Having this body type has plagued me for as long as I can remember. Over the years, multiple people called me fat, even when my BMI was perfectly healthy. My church growing up spread the message that a young teenage woman of my body type wasn’t “godly”. If (or should I say when) any teenage guys leered at my chest, they were never called out for the immature, disrespectful lunkheads that they were; no, it was always said to be my fault, because I was “causing them to stumble” in their “battle of the flesh” and their “walk with the Lord.”

banana cheesecake bars

My weight has been up and down since high school. In high school, I basically starved myself, getting to 15 pounds below my ideal weight (according to CDC charts), because I was hoping that would change my figure and body type. It didn’t. And I still thought I was fat. And in more recent years, aided in part by aging metabolism, I’ve let myself gain some weight, mostly to avoid the frustration of working so hard to keep weight off and still feeling fat and still hating how I look. I guess it got to a point where it wasn’t worth it.

banana cheesecake squares

But you know what? I’m done with having body image issues. I’m so over it! I’m sick of feeling disgust every time I see myself in the mirror. I’m sick of dreading my picture being taken. I’m sick of trying to hate myself skinny – it doesn’t work anyway. The past few months I’ve been on a mission to completely accept and embrace my body for the exact body type that it is. There’s nothing wrong with me. I have the body type that I do, and I proudly accept that. My aim is being fit and healthy, no longer trying in vain to adapt to someone else’s standard or image of “skinny” or “thin” or the perfect body type. The people who called me fat were WRONG. My childhood church was WRONG.

banana split cheesecake square

I am okay exactly the way I am, and you know what? So are you. No matter what shape or size you are, I hope you love your body and accept it. Losing or gaining a few or many pounds doesn’t change the person you are. So let’s celebrate ourselves and our bodies by indulging a little.

Banana Split Cheesecake Bars

This little dessert is amazing! It’s banana split colliding with cheesecake – how could it be anything short of dreamy? The original recipe called for using walnuts, but I subbed in peanuts because I associate banana splits with having peanuts instead of walnuts sprinkled on top. It worked very nicely. But, if you would prefer walnuts, feel free to use them. All things in moderation, right? – so enjoy this one!

Banana Split Cheesecake Bars

Source: adapted from The Midnight Baker

Ingredients:
3 oz. graham crackers
¼ cup unsalted peanuts, plus extra for garnish
4 tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup plus 2 tbs sugar
1 ½ overripe bananas, chunked
3 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or spray a 9-inch square baking pan. Line it with parchment paper that sticks out on 2 but not all 4 ends. They will be your “handles” for gently removing the cheesecake later.
Prepare crust: place the graham crackers and peanuts in the food processor. Process until finely ground. Add the melted butter and process just until combined. Press evenly into prepared baking pan.
Beat the softened cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar, beating until well incorporated.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add banana and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.
Pour cream cheese mixture over crust and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until center is just about set. It should be jiggly but not liquidy. Shut off the oven and leave the cheesecake in there with the door somewhat ajar for 20-30 minutes. This lets it cool gently and avoids the dreaded cheesecake center cracks.
Remove from oven and cool completely on a rack.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
Remove the cheesecake by lifting the parchment paper onto a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut into squares. Serve with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and some peanuts scattered on top.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I’m trying to get our Thanksgiving menu blogged as much as I can. And by that I mean, what I managed to get pictures of. Which unfortunately, wasn’t everything.  Meet the second of our two desserts!

This was pronounced by more than one person as “the best cheesecake I’ve ever tasted.” The pumpkin flavor was deep and rich, but not at all too sweet or cloying. The texture was what really put it over the top, though. It was just perfect. I do not care for cheesecake that is too thick or too chewy. I don’t like to feel like I’m cutting through mildly softened butter or cream cheese. Cheesecake should have its own unique texture. It should be soft, rich and creamy with a slight crunch of the cookie crust. This one most assuredly lives up to its billing. Thank you for the terrific instructions, Fine Cooking magazine!

It can be tough to determine exactly when cheesecake is done, because ideally you want to pull it out of the oven before it’s completely done and let it finish via carryover cooking. So it can be hard to know exactly when it’s too soon to take it out. I’ve figured out that cheesecake is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 165 F. So take your cheesecake out when the temperature reads 155 F. Only for best results, you don’t actually take the cake out of the oven. You just shut the oven off, then leave the cake in the oven with the door left ajar for one hour. This way, the carryover cooking finishes the cheesecake gently, and this lessens any chances of the dreaded cheesecake cracks.

So go and make this before the holiday season is up! You’ll love it and your guests will go crazy for it.

Source: adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, April/May 2010

Ingredients:
CRUST:
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
3 tbs granulate sugar
7 tbs unsalted butter, melted
FILLING:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
2 tbs flour
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions:
CRUST:
Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 375 F.
In a medium bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs and sugar. Mix in the melted butter with a rubber spatula until the crumbs are evenly moistened and clump together slightly.
Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides. I like to use a flat-bottomed drinking glass for this.
Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a cooling rack.
FILLING:
Lower the oven temperature to 325 F.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, flour and salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.
Add the vanilla and all the spices. Beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just blended. Be careful not to overbeat or the cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.
Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.
Place aluminum foil in the bottom of a baking dish or roasting pan. You want enough foil to cover the bottom and sides of the springform pan. Place the cheesecake pan in the middle of the foil and gather the foil up and around the sides of the pan, but do not actually cover the top of the cheesecake. Trim as necessary. Make sure the foil is tightly fitting the pan.
Carefully pour hot water into the roasting pan so that it comes up barely halfway around the springform pan. Now very cautiously transfer the entire thing into the oven, being very careful not to slosh.
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the cheesecake reads 155 F. When it’s done baking, shut off the oven, leave the cheesecake in the oven and leave the oven door ajar for 60 minutes. Carefully remove the cake, remove the foil and let cool completely on the counter on a cooling rack or trivet. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
Note: If you are worried about any water having seeped under your foil lining, you can remove the cheesecake from the water bath before letting it sit in the oven for the one hour.

Apple Pecan Cheesecake Cupcakes

Believe it or not, these scrumptious little items were not part of my quest to use up a bushel and a half of apples from the Catskills.  They came about as a way to attempt to use up some beautiful Vermont apple butter sitting in the fridge.

Matt and I really enjoyed these, and they immediately evaporated when his coworkers got ahold of them.  They aren’t no-bake, but we’ll call them only-a-little-bake, because they only require a little bit of baking – just the graham cracker crust.  Then they require a little bit of work on the stovetop to cook the apples.  But, they are easy to pull off.

And so much fun to eat!  I mean, how often do you get to eat cheesecake with your hands?  I know there are cheesecake bars out there, which are awesome, but those typically require a fork.  These do not! Thanks to the cupcake wrapper you can eat them completely utensil-free.

They may not scream Thanksgiving, but they do exuberantly shout fall, and I think it’s still fall.  And by posting this recipe at this time of year, I am informing the weather that yes, it is still fall.  That means that six inches of snow is inappropriate and jumping the gun, so please don’t do that again until at least the beginning of January. Okay? Thanks!

I made only one change to the original, which was to sub pecans for walnuts, 1) because I had pecans on hand and did not have any walnuts, and 2) because being from Texas (aka growing up in the land of pecans) dies hard, and I’ll always love pecans better than any other nut.  But if walnuts are more your thing, feel free to use them instead. You could also sub in whole, peeled almonds for a tasty twist.

Source: Slightly adapted from Shutterbean

Ingredients:

CRUST:
1 1/4 cups graham crackers (from about 10 cookies)
1/3 cup chopped pecan halves
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

FILLING:
1 package 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup cold heavy cream
1/2 cup apple butter

TOPPING:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 apple, peeled & chopped
1/3 cup chopped pecan halves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt

Directions:

CRUST:
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Line 10 standard muffin cups with cupcake liners. In a food processor, pulse together the graham crackers, pecans, sugar, salt, cinnamon and butter until combined. Divide crumb mixture among cupcake liners, firmly pressing into bottoms and up the sides. I used a shot glass to help with this. Bake until crusts are browned and fragrant, about 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely in a pan on a wire rack at room temperature.

FILLING:
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar, apple butter, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
In another medium bowl, with clean beaters, beat the heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Gently fold the whipped cream into the apple butter cream cheese mixture a little at a time. Divide mixture among the cooled crusts and refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour.

TOPPING:
While the cheesecakes are chilling, make the apple topping. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add the apple, pecans, sugar & cinnamon and cook, stirring occasionally until apples are just soft, about 4-5 minutes. Finish with a pinch of salt and let topping cool. When ready to serve, place a tablespoon of the apple walnut topping on each mini cheesecake. Cheesecakes will last up to three days in the refrigerator, if you and those with whom you live can restrain yourselves from eating them, anyway.