Here’s a photo of a goat on the roof of Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant in Door County, WI. I took this photo the weekend my husband and I got engaged (swoon). Here’s a link to the Goat Cam where you can check out what those crazy goats are up to. If you look now (January 29, 2014), you’ll see a goatless root covered with snow, but check back in May and you’ll see bright green grass and maybe some fine-lookin’ goat specimens! Henyway…
Why am I yucking it up about goats? Because I made this obnoxiously good goat cheese cheesecake yesterday. Yes that’s a mouthful, which is what you’ll want to have many of once you try this recipe.
I had never made a cheesecake before. I thought it would be complicated and easy to fail at, but in reality it wasn’t too tough. Having a stand mixer made it simpler, as the recipe asks you to whip eggs whites to form soft peaks. And herein my friends lies the secret to the cloud-like texture of this cheesecake: whipped egg whites. Traditionally, cheesecake is dense, right? This one is a whole other animal. It’s almost like cheesecake and angel food cake shacked up and popped out a lovechild. This lovechild happens to be flecked with sunny lemon zest, which plays well with the tanginess of goat cheese, the true star of this dessert.
Fresh goat cheese, which is usually sold in a log-shaped package, is soft and similar in consistency to cream cheese, but less dense. Aside from the unique flavor it lends, goat cheese is also a nice choice because it’s easier for some people to digest than cheeses made with cow milk. Goat milk only contains very small amounts of alpha-S1, an allergenic casein protein in cow milk. Goat milk also has less lactose than cow milk, potentially making it a better option for those with lactose-intolerance. (If you are allergic to cow milk, speak with your practitioner before trying the goat version.)
It’s been cold here, cold enough to call off school and close local businesses. But the sun’s been pouring through the windows, the snow’s been sparkling and I can see a tiny speck of light that is spring at the end of this frigid tunnel. All is well; there’s seven eighths of a lemon-flecked crustless goat cheese cheesecake in my fridge.
This recipe comes from Bon Appetit, which I modified slightly by using whole wheat pastry flour rather than all purpose
Unsalted butter (for pan)
3/4 cup sugar plus more for pan, plus 1 tsp for egg whites
12 ounces fresh soft goat cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated into whites and yolks
3 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
mixed berries for topping (optional)
Special Equipment: 9-inch-diameter springform pan
1) Preheat oven to 350°. Butter springform pan and dust lightly with sugar.
2) Using an electric (stand or hand) mixer, beat at medium speed: goat cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes (take a taste!)
3) Add egg yolks in three additions, beating at medium speed to blend, scraping down the bowl as needed. Turn off mixer and stir in flour by hand until just blended. Set mixture aside.
4) Using clean, dry beaters (or whisk attachment), whip egg whites and 1 tsp sugar in a separate bowl until soft peaks form.
5) Fold half of the egg whites into goat cheese and yolk mixture just until blended; fold in remaining egg whites just until blended. The “batter” should be foamy and light; pour it into the springform pan and tap lightly to level.
6) Bake cheesecake 30-35 minutes until the top is set but still jiggles a bit in the center 30. (I let mine go a bit too long; pull it out as soon as edges are slightly browned.) Transfer cheesecake to cooling rack; let cool completely in pan before removing outer springform ring.
Serve cold or at room temperature, topped with berries if you so desire.
Nutrition information, courtesy of Bon Appetit:
8 servings, 1 serving contains: Calories: 240 Fat: 13g Saturated Fat 7g Cholesterol 180mg Carbohydrates 22 g Dietary Fiber 1g Total Sugars 17g Protein 13g Sodium 210 mg