This recipe is a playful one! This fantastic savoury cheesecake is a dead ringer for a classic New York-style baked vanilla cheesecake… and yet it couldn’t be further removed in terms of its flavour. It’s so fantastically savoury and tangy – goats’ cheese lovers will be in heaven.
The crumbly, nutty base is made with crushed parmesan shortbread, brown butter and toasted hazelnuts as well as thyme leaves for a little fragrance; the filling is as creamy, lactic and pure as can be. Whipped egg whites keep things light and delicate, and the cheesecake is served with a fresh and herbaceous pea shoot & basil salad that’s dressed lightly with olive oil and lemon juice.
And the wine pairing? It has to be Sauvignon Blanc! We’ve opted for a Pouilly-Fumé from Loire here. The wine offers clean herbaceous aromas of cut grass, and fresh ‘green’ flavours on the palate such as peas or even asparagus which echo the peas and basil in the salad. Bright and zippy citrus notes – lemons and grapefruit in particular – compliment the youthful lactic tang of goats’ cheese, and this racy acidity helps to cut through the texturally richness of the cheesecake.
- Prep time: 30-45 mins
- Cooking time: 16 + 22 mins.
- This recipe serves 6 – 8 (but leftovers freeze perfectly)
- Kit: 22 cm cake tin, and electric whisk
Ingredients for base:
- 90g light spelt flour
- 60g cold butter diced + 50 g butter
- 30g parmesan
- 15g strong cheddar
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 4 tsp poppy seeds
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- ½ tsp flakey sea salt
- 50 g hazelnuts
Ingredients for filling:
- 250 g soft goat’s cheese
- 125 g cream cheese
- 3 eggs, separated
- ½ lemon, juice only
- ¼ pinch flaky sea salt
Pea shoot & basil salad:
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 generous handfuls pea shoots
- 4 handfuls salad leaves
- 6 stalks fresh basil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp flakey sea salt
- Start by preparing the shortbread base. Preheat the oven to 180C and sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl.
- Dice 60 g cold butter, and grate the parmesan and cheddar.
- Add the butter to the mixing bowl and rub it in with your fingertips until your mix resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Add the grated cheeses, egg yolk, cayenne, poppy seeds, thyme, and sea salt and mix to combine.
- Tip your dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten/roll it out until approximately 7 mm thick then cut into square-ish biscuits, wasting no dough. Don’t worry about the shapes – these biscuits will be bashed up later on.
- Transfer onto a lined baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 14-16 minutes until golden brown, and simultaneously, on a separate tray, roast your hazelnuts for 6-8 minutes or until nutty and golden.
- Line a 22 cm spring-from cake tin with parchment paper in the traditional way.
- Once cool, bash or whizz up your shortbread until the mix resembles fine bread crumbs and bash up the hazelnuts leaving some chunkier pieces.
- Heat 50 g butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Swirl your pan often and allow the butter to sizzle away for 2 – 4 minutes until it’s golden in colour and smells gorgeously nutty and toasty – this is called “beurre noisette” or “brown butter”.
- Pour this over your breadcrumbs and hazelnuts and mix well to coat evenly. Tip into the lined cake tin and press down very well, flattening the surface.
- To make the filling, carefully separate the egg yolks from the whites. Place the whites in a large, dry, spotlessly clean bowl, and in a separate bowl whisk together the yolks with the goats’ cheese, cream cheese, lemon juice, and sea salt until smooth and glossy.
- Now whisk the egg whites until you reach stiff peaks. Fold these into the cheese mixture one third at a time, then pour this over your biscuit base.
- Tap the cake tin lightly on your work surface to knock out any larger air pockets and level the filling.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes. It will soufflé slightly and turn golden on the top. It should still have a slight wobble in the centre when pulled from the oven.
- Allow the cheesecake to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.
- To make the salad simply blanch the peas and allow to cool, then toss with pea shoots, salad leaves, and torn basil leaves. Dress with lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt when you are ready to serve.
- Enjoy with a well chilled glass of Pouilly-Fumé.
Now why not try the Spring Menu main course!
Crème brûlée rhubarb tart