If there is one staple on our list for the Fourth of July weekend, it’s cheesecake. I use my Mom’s recipe, and I need to ask her where she got it from. On top of a partially-baked Graham-cracker crust, add the filling of 1 package 8 ounce cream cheese, 1 tub less 1/2 cup of sour cream, 2 eggs, 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and bake at 350; cover the top with the rest of the sour cream. I like this recipe a lot for it’s taste and of course the association of my Mom, but it’s also very easy to make, in about 20 minutes, while I am making a bunch of other desserts. Sometimes though, I want something a little more special, and a little more tasty. This morning I was wide awake at 4am and so decided to make cheesecake for this weekend. I had made another batch of goat cheese, this time adding four spoons of dried lavender in the milk, which was later strained. So starting with that goat cheese I got to work making lavender honey goat cheese cheesecakes. I made this in a full size last year adapting Mom’s recipe, but today I’m using a different recipe, one that will give a significantly lighter texture to the finished desserts, and I am making smaller sizes.
Regardless of which pan or pans you use, you need to make the crust first: One packet of (crushed) graham crackers, 1 stick of melted butter, 3 heaping teaspoons of sugar and a generous dash of cinnamon. I know, you can buy one pre-made, but I much prefer one from scratch. Spoon the crumb mix into the pans.
And using a glass, press the mixture down evenly in your pans. For this recipe, I use crumbs only on the bottom of the pan. Bake at 400 until the edges just start to brown, then set aside to cool.
For for the filling; you will need:
5 ounces (+/-) of goat cheese
4 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup of sugar (or honey; keep reading)
a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
You can use the Trader Joe variety of goat cheese for this, but what I really love is a fresh or home-made goat cheese. The flavor tastes significantly better to me when I use about half a cup of honey instead of the cup of sugar; it’s a great way to introduce flavors such as lavender, wildflowers or orange blossom into your cheesecake. I used my favorite Jonas wildflower honey. Here you can also see the goat cheese is vaguely colored due to the lavender.
Put the filling ingredients in your mixer and blend until creamy. Fill your pans, leaving just a little headroom.
Now here’s the trick with this recipe: it’s in the way they are baked. Rather than putting the cake right in the oven, wrap each cheesecake with foil and set them in a pan of water and put the whole setup in the oven. I used a 1” deep baking sheet. The water does not have to go to the top of the cheesecakes; just keep the tinfoil up so that no water gets around the cakes (it would seep in under these two-part tarte tins). Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes for a large cheesecake; these minis take 30 minutes each.
You will know just by looking at them if they are done, once you have made one or two of these.
But just to be sure, I often touch my finger to the top of the cheesecake. Problem is, that leaves a ding in the top of the cheesecake. My family would still eat them, even with my fingerprint on top, but I disguise it with a little coat of sour cream on top~
Or, you can just pour some sauce on top. The other problem I still have with this method of cooking is how to unmold them, because it’s nice to see the crust on the bottom and the light cheesecake on top. I get a ragged edge like this. I was not happy with it, but Mom had this for breakfast this morning at 7am and said it was delish~
The sauce is a puree of 1 small container of raspberries, four heaping spoons of sugar and juice of one lemon; you can strain it or leave the seeds in.
It’s especially excellent on flourless chocolate cake! Something else I must make soon…
For today, here is my little goat cheese cheesecake; it is lightly perfumed with lavender and honey, and I prefer them in these small white ramekins as I don’t have to unmold them, and they look pretty on a dessert tray.
This batch however, is going to my Sis’ house today. I want to borrow some wine glasses for some photos and so will leave these for her family; I know they will love them. I can see these with red raspberries and blue-blueberries for the Fourth. Her family will eat these by tonight, so maybe we’ll make one of Mom’s cheesecakes for the Fourth.
Enjoy your weekend and bake something delicious if you can!!