This particular recipe from Dorie Greenspan (Around my French Table) is way too good for the amount of effort required. It is really easy to put together — the most difficult part is separating the eggs — and it makes one of the best cheesecakes that we’ve ever had. Dreamy light, subtlety sweet, with a rich cheese flavor, this cake can easily stand on its own, but it would also be great with a raspberry coulis or a really good chocolate sauce. But for now, let’s go with plain.
- 1 Tart Dough, chilled and ready to roll
- 5 eggs, separated and at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs sugar
- 9 ounces soft plain goat cheese, room temperature
- 3 Tbs cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
You have two main ingredients here, the eggs and the goat cheese, so don’t skimp on either, especially the goat cheese. We are lucky enough to get artisan goat cheese made by Black Mesa Ranch through our CSA. About a year ago, we attended one of their open houses, met the owners, met the goats, and saw that everyone was happy and passionate about their role on the ranch. That’s what makes a great product.
Separate the eggs. Do this while the eggs are cold, as you’ll be less likely to break the yolks. Another tip, when we are separating more than one or two eggs, we separate each egg into a small bowl, then dump the egg whites into our mixing bowl. This way, if an egg yolk breaks, we only have to discard one white and not the whole batch. We also do this first, so the separated eggs will have time to warm.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Prepare a baking pan. Either butter an 8- to 9-inch springform pan, or line an 8- or 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper.
Roll out tart dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the tart dough to about a 10-inch circle. You might want to try putting it between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap before rolling. Sometimes that makes it a bit easier.
Place in pan. Carefully place the tart dough into the pan and bring it up the sides. Don’t worry too much about neatness unless you are a perfectionist. When everything bakes, no one will notice a slightly uneven crust.
Refrigerate. Pop the pan with the crust into the fridge until you are ready to pour in the filling.
Whip the egg whites. After letting them warm to room temperature, add the pinch of salt and start whipping. As they start to form soft peaks, start adding the 2 tablespoons sugar. Once they form stiff but shiny peaks, stop and transfer the egg whites to a separate bowl.
Mix everything else. Once the whites are out of the mixer bowl, put the remaining ingredients in the bowl. The goat cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, five egg yolks, and vanilla extract can all be put in the mixer bowl. Don’t bother cleaning it out, that little bit of whites left in won’t hurt anything. Mix on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Fold in egg whites. Start with about 1/4 of the egg whites and fold those in as best you can. This will lighten up the batter, making it easier to fold in the rest. Now you should have a nice light batter.
Pour the batter. Pour it into the prepared tart shell, making sure to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 15 minutes. Once the 15 minutes are up, lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes more. Slide a small thin knife in the cake to test if it is done. If the knife comes out clean, your cake is baked. The cake will be puffed up and browned on top. It will deflate as it cools.
Let cool for 10 minutes. Place it on a rack and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then remove it from the pan and let cool to room temperature.
Serve. And prepare yourself for some of the best cheesecake ever. Not one of those sickly sweet lemony things that involve cream cheese, but a real, honest-to-goodness, light-as-can-be cheesecake that you’ll make again and again. Especially after you see people eating it literally swoon and then ask where you purchased such a delicious cake. And imagine their look when you say you’ve scratched it up just this morning. We’ve made this cake, oh, probably once a month since we first read the recipe, and it has never failed to impress.
As we said in the introduction, this cake is much too good for the amount of effort involved. A definite five-starrer.