Tag Archives: pistachio

Goat Cheesecake with a Pistachio Crust

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

Crust- Ingredients
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.

Filling-Ingredients
(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
2 eggs

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.

Happy nomming,

Danny


Banana Bars with White Chocolate Pistachio Frosting

Um. I am so excited I’m about to explode.

Look at that bar. Look at that focus. Look at those colors. I’ve spent the past month attempting to survive in the food blogosphere while operating with a Kodak point and shoot. A camera usually reserved for pictures of people, not up-and-close-mouth-watering-food-porn-type shots.

But I took the leap into the realm of DSLRs, and I can already tell it was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

The camera I ended up choosing is a Canon Digital Rebel xTI. It’s incredibly user friendly, and allows me to operate fully manually, as opposed to forced automation.It came with an 18-55 mm lens, which is responsible for the lovely depth of field I’m seeing in all my new work.

But enough of my rants. You’re here for food, and I assure you, the images tell no lies. These bars are delicious, and moist, and creamy, and vegan.

Exceeding expectations one bite (or pixel) at a time.

Vegan Banana Bars

Ingredients
2 large bananas
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup almond milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tb cinnamon

Combine bananas, chickpeas, almond milk, and vanilla extract in food processor. Process until completely smooth and blended.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and whisk with a fork until combined. Gradually stir in wet ingredients until just moistened.

Coat a 8″ x 8″ pan with non stick spray or oil. Pour batter into dish, and level with a rubber spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until top forms a light brown crust. Let cool.

White Chocolate Pistachio Frosting

Ingredients
3/4 cup vegan white chocolate chips 
1/4 cup organic powdered sugar
1/2 cup pistachios, shelled

Melt white chocolate in microwave by heating for 30 second intervals and stirring until melted through. Stir in powdered sugar. Spread over cake when cool.

In plastic baggie, crush whole pistachios using a glass measuring cup. Sprinkle over frosting. Serve within 12 hours for best taste and texture.

~

Well, that’s my first time with two posts in one day. But you know what- it’s honestly the only thing I want to do! Make food, eat food, and now, thanks to my new camera, photograph food.

I’ve been fantasizing of abandoning my life as a mere student of science in pursuit of the baking lifestyle. Maybe someday. For now it’s a hobby, and until I become a rich house-dad with my own brand of bone jewelry, bakeware, and terrarium furniture (a boy can dream), I’ll stick it out in academia.

Happy nomming,

Danny