This is the first cheesecake I have ever made.
And not to toot my own horn, but it’s pretty damn good.
A couple of weeks ago I was making a salad with goat cheese (amongst other things but I won’t bore you) for dinner, and I was just marvelling at how DELICIOUS the combination of chèvre cheese and honey is. Inspiration then struck, and I decided that it NEEDED to become a cheesecake.
I then read about 10 different guides to cheesecake (typical Saturday), and learned 3 key takeaways:
- Cracks are bad
- Water baths are good (avoids #1)
- Slow and steady cooling is even better (again, avoids #1)
Based on the above, you will see that it is a good idea to make this cheesecake the day before or at least the morning of a dinner party if you’re serving this for dessert, as you bake the cake for an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, cool at room temperature for at least 2 hours, then in the fridge for at least 4 hours. I feel like I should reiterate that the hands on time is relatively minimal and extremely straightforward, but as Pastry God Dominique Ansel says, “Time is an Ingredient”.
Another ingredient here is temperature. Make sure your cream cheese and goat cheese are room temperature! To speed up the “thaw”, I cut them into small pieces and let them sit on a cutting board for a bit.
So now that you’re prepared in the ultimate executive summary of cheesecake, why not give it a try?
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tbsp browned salted butter
- 20oz full fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup chèvre cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup honey (I used manuka honey)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 eggs
Rhubarb Compote Ingredients
- 1 heaping cup of chopped rhubarb
- 3-4 tbsp sugar
Preheat oven to 350F and tightly wrap the outside of a 9-10 inch springform pan in foil. This will ensure that no water leaks into the pan when it is set in the waterbath. Grease the inside of the pan with a bit of butter.
Mix together graham cracker crumbs and brown butter in a medium bowl until combined. The mixture will have the texture of wet sand. Press into the bottom of the springform pan with the bottom of a flat glass until smooth. Bake for 9 minutes until golden brown and allow to cool.
To make the filling, mix together cream cheese, sugar and salt with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer until smooth. It is important that the cream cheese is room temperature as otherwise the filling will be lumpy.
Add softened goat cheese, sour cream, honey, lemon juice and vanilla to the cream cheese mixture, mixing until thoroughly combined and smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until just incorporated. The mixture will be thick, smooth and silky (a few dots of cream cheese are ok).
Pour filling over cooled crust and if desired, drizzle more honey over the top and swirl with a paring knife for decoration.
Reduce oven temperature to 325F. Place the cheesecake in a roasting pan and pour boiling water into the roasting pan (about an inch high) to create a water bath for the cheesecake. This will ensure it bakes evenly.
Bake for one hour, until the edges are puffed and set and the centre still jiggles like Jello when you shake the pan (gently). Once done, turn off the oven and open the oven door to allow the cheesecake to cool slowly in the oven for one hour.
Remove the cheesecake from the waterbath and remove foil from the pan. Gently run a paring knife around the outside edge of the cheesecake to separate from the pan (less chance of cracking), and allow to cool COMPLETELY at room temperature on a wire rack. Once cool, refrigerate uncovered for at least 4-5 hours.
To make rhubarb compote, mix rhubarb and sugar in a medium bowl and allow to sit for 10 minutes to release rhubarb juices. Transfer mixture to a saucepan and bring to medium heat. As the juices begin to simmer, mix often to break up the rhubarb. It is done when the rhubarb has broken down and most of the liquid has evaporated (although you can simmer down to your desired thickness). Allow to cool completely.
Top cheesecake (or pieces) with compote as desired, and enjoy!