You know what I enjoy? Adaptations. Alterations. Taking an overused concept and transforming it into some distinct but parallel form.
If anything, I think it’s in our nature. It’s sort of like how everyday, I’ll change one small thing about my routine, just to force myself into some new conditions, under which I’m forced to reconsider what I’ve previously accepted. It can take the form of me doing everything with my non-dominant hand, or taking a different road on my way to work, or trying to write journal entries in a voice that I’ve never used before. It’s simply an exercise in reconditioning my brain to adapt to, and integrate, new experience.
In life, as in baking, adaptation is always useful. I have a number of qualms with traditional cheesecakes:
-the filling is too dang heavy
-the crust is too dang boring, and
-the flavor pairings are too dang simple
I assure you, this cheesecake falls under none of these categories. The filling is a rich, tangy goat cheese, augmented with fat free cream cheese, so you get the full flavor without the overly full feelings afterwards. The crust? A coarse crumble of toasted pistachio. Atop the whole thing sits a honey drizzle, perfectly sweetening and accenting each slice. Ah, the wonders of adaptation.
Goat Cheesecake with Pistachio Crust
2 cups pistachios, unsalted
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp almond extract
5 tb unsalted butter, cubed
Pulse pistachios in food processor until crumby but with some larger pieces intact. Add in sugar and almond extract, and give a few quick pulses. Add in cubed butter, all at once, and pulse until combined.
Press crust into springform pan, using the base of a measuring cup to flatten and press against sides. Poke a few holes in crust bottom, and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool completely before filling.
(adapted from Dash of East)
12 ounces goat cheese
12 ounces fat free cream cheese*
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
Combine goat cheese and cream cheese in food processor, and mix until smooth and creamy. Add in lemon juice, vanilla, and sugar, and pulse until combined. Last add eggs, one at a time, pulsing between additions until fully incorporated.
Pour filling into cooled crust. Place springform in pan with 1 inch of water, reaching about halfway up the side of the springform. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes. When done, turn off oven with the door cracked a few inches to cool evenly and prevent top from cracking. When cheesecake is room temperature, let cool in fridge for at least two hours. Drizzle with honey before serving.
*You could certainly use regular cream cheese, though I think that would make this already dense cheesecake a tad heavy.
Lately I’ve been really utilizing my Netflix Instant Watch. So it should come as no surprise that I recommend curling up on a couch at 3 am with this cheesecake and watching something… eerie. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of comfort food and unsettling television, but they do pair well, I swear. Maybe some Twin Peaks, or X-Files, or this strange but promising Chinese horror film.