I’ve been wanting to make Anne Burrell’s Goat Cheese Cheesecake for the longest time, but didn’t want to make the traditional shape using a springform pan and cutting it into wedges. Plus, I had this pan that had been stored away, years ago, after only one use. So, today I made six individual half-spheres of goat cheese cheesecakes sitting on top of a caramelized homemade graham cracker cookie, and topped with a cherry black pepper compote. Would I do it again? Maybe, but I might not use my Wilton mini ball pan for it. It was difficult to get each cheesecake sphere out of the mold. I do like the black pepper compote. 1 teaspoon seemed like a lot of black pepper for the compote, but when paired with the goat cheese and the added sweetness of the graham cracker, it was just right. I was most surprised by how creamy and light the cheesecake was. I usually think of goat cheese as being very heavy and crumbly, but the sour cream and cream cheese mellowed it out quite well without taking away it’s distinctive tang.
For the cheesecake part:
- 12 ounces (usually one package) cream cheese, room temperature
- 9 ounces goat cheese
- 9 ounces sour cream
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the cherry black pepper compote:
- 3 cups sour cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of sea salt
For the graham cracker cookie:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For caramelizing the graham cracker cookie:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
For the cherry compote, put all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring often. Turn down heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and store in fridge until ready for topping. This will last in the fridge for 2 days.
For graham cracker cookies, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a silpat. With a stand mixer or hand held mixer, cream butter, sugar, and honey, for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and salt, until just combined. Do not overmix. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a 3.5 inch glass rim, or biscuit cutter to cut out circles. You can cut it out into whatever shape you want. I might try making it into a square, if there is a next time. Place on baking sheet, 6 per sheet, and bake for about 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Cookies will be still soft and need to harden before they can be removed from sheet. Remove from oven and let cool slightly on sheet before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. This recipe will make about 8 round cookies, 3 1/2 inches in diameter, each.
For caramelizing the cookies, put butter, margarine, and sugar in a saucepan and heat on top of stove until bubbly for about 2 minutes. Use thongs to dip each cookie into butter/margarine mixture, then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. Bake for 12 minutes, being careful not to burn. Remove from oven and baking sheet let cool on wire rack.
For cheesecake part, preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Beat the cream cheese and goat cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Can use hand-held mixer instead for this. Add the sour cream and beat to combine. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each egg is added, until thoroughly combined. Beat in the sugar and vanilla until just combined. Butter Wilton 6 mini-ball pan well, and pour batter into pan molds, leveling out tops with offset spatula. Place pan in a water bath using a 9 by 13 inch pan filled with hot water. Make sure not to fill pan too closely to top of mold pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or so. Remove from oven but let sit in water bath if it doesn’t look baked enough. Let cool on counter top, then cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray and cool in the fridge overnight. To umold, might need to heat up the pan using a hot water bath, or using a blow torch, which is what I did. Be patient, and it will unmold, sometimes by pushing on one side of the sphere and carefully turning over pan onto a flat cutting board or other surface. You might need to refrigerate it again after unmolding, so that it would be easy to transfer on top of graham cracker cookie.
For assembly, place each unmolded cheesecake sphere, one on top of each cookie, and spoon cherry black pepper compote on top, letting it fall to the sides.