We had great luck with modifying the original Tourteau de chèvre recipe to make Tourteau de chèvre au Chocolat, so, with all the fresh peaches we picked, not to mention having some goat cheese on hand, we thought that we’d try to modify it once again to incorporate fruit at the peak of the season. What’s the absolute worst that can happen? Maybe it turns out dense, but, so what? It’ll still taste good. (As a spoiler, it turned out well, but we have a few tweaks that we’re thinking about for next time.)
We originally thought of just doing a peach cheesecake, but how? Do we put fresh peaches on top? That might keep the cake from rising properly and make the filling soggy. What about the bottom? Maybe that would keep the crust from baking completely. Who knows? What about flavor? Will the peaches have enough flavor? We seem to be in uncharted territory. Not the “Here be dragons!” sort of territory, but even still.
So we spent a bit of time thinking. First up was the flavor. We figured, to get enough peach flavor, we’d have way too many peaches and our cheesecake would be a soggy mess. So, what can we do? Well, almonds go well with peaches; hence, the almond in the title.
Next up, where to put the peaches, bottom or top? We just split the difference and decided to put down a layer of batter, place the peaches, then another layer of batter, sandwiching the peach slices between cheese filling. It turned out to be a good call. Now that we’ve decided all that, let’s get scratchin’.
Makes one 9-inch cheesecake.
Eggs: true pastured, if possible. Find someone who has a small flock of chickens and buy your eggs there. Check farmers’ markets and ask around. It’s a great way to support your neighbors. Extracts: get pure and natural. For goat cheese, we’re lucky to get a very high-quality local brand made from milk that comes from well-treated goats. Look around; you’re sure to find a goat herder in the area these days. Peaches: use fresh; if you don’t have fresh, then omit and make just an Almond Tourteau de chèvre.
Procedure in detail:
Prepare pan. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with a circle of baking parchment, and then butter that. Is all that really necessary? Especially if your springform is non-stick? Think about it this way: you went all-out on the ingredients, and are investing your time to make a great cheesecake; do you want to take the chance to save a few minutes and cents? I see you’re reaching for the butter and parchment — good answer.
Roll out crust. This crust is soft and sticky, so we placed the ball between two pieces of waxed paper before rolling. Then we rolled, and rolled, turning it over from time to time, until it was large enough for the pan.
Refrigerate. This crust is soft, so we covered it with plastic and put it back into the fridge until we were ready, which also has the advantage of clearing a bit of counter space.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a rack in the middle position in the oven.
Roast almonds. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and slide into the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Periodically stir them around and watch carefully so they don’t burn. They’ll turn a bit darker in color and start to give off a really nice aroma. When that happens, remove almonds to cool.
Grind almonds. Once cool, place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the nuts are ground into meal. Set aside.
Separate eggs. If you haven’t already done so, separate your eggs. We always separate them, one by one, into a small bowl, then put the whites into our mixing bowl. That way, if a yolk breaks, we haven’t contaminated all the whites (egg whites will not whip if there’s yolk mixed in).
Whip egg whites. Using the whisk attachment on your mixer, whip the egg whites and salt on medium-high until soft peaks form. Now, with the mixer still running, gradually add the small amount of sugar. Whip until the whites hold firm peaks, then gently transfer to another bowl and set aside.
Make batter. In the mixer bowl that held the egg whites (no need to clean), combine egg yolks, almonds, extracts, sugar, cornstarch, and goat cheese. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on medium, stopping periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
Fold egg whites into the batter. This is it. This is what makes for a light cheesecake, folding in the egg whites. We like to fold in the whites in three nearly equal additions. Scrape about 1/3 of the egg whites onto the batter, fold in as carefully as you can, then the next 1/3, and the final third, folding as gently and carefully as you’re able.
Pour some batter into shell. Take the tart shell out of the refrigerator, pour and scrape in about half the batter, and level.
Layer peaches. Place the peach slices on the batter in a single layer with a small amount of space between each slice. Eat any leftover peach slices. Pour the remaining batter over the peaches.
Bake. Place the springform pan onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. This does two things: it insulates the bottom of the cake so it doesn’t bake too fast, and catches drips of butter that leak out. Bake for 15 minutes.
Lower temperature. Now, drop the temperature of the oven to 350°F and continue baking for another 40-45 minutes, or until puffed and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry.
Cool. Place on rack, and cool at least 15 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan. Allow torteau to cool to room temperature before removing parchment from the bottom and placing on a serving plate.
Serve. And enjoy.
Considering we just modified a previous recipe to make this cake, we definitely did not have a failure. The cake turned out nice and light, and, for those people who don’t like goat cheese, this doesn’t really taste very goat cheesy. I think most people wouldn’t even notice it. Probably the only thing we would change would to be to increase the almond extract from 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon. This cake could have used just a bit more almond flavor. Since it only had two peaches inside, the peach flavor was fairly subdued, except when you got a bite of peaches. So, expect that when you eat it. Overall, because of the shortness of almond flavor, we’ll give it an even four.