I’m pretty sure goat cheese cheesecake is one of the seventh wonders of the world that I’m just a littttle upset to be just discovering.
I mean, where have I been? It’s been a long 27 years without goat cheese cheesecake.
Cheesecake should probably be my favorite dessert, right? Considering that cheese is my numero uno food group. I do love a good cheesecake, now that I think about it. Sometimes I get a craving and send Daniel down the street for this ridiculous “30th Anniversary” crazy-town chocolate number from The Cheesecake Factory. It’s so rich and indulgent and just totally NUTS. Have you ever had this sucker?
It might happen only once a year for me, for said reason – it’s so over-the-top sweet and indulgent that I have it once and I’m good for, um… a year. Such is not the case with this very distant relative of that cheesecake.
I saw Anne Burrell make a goat cheese cheesecake on one of my favorite shows, The Best Thing I Ever Made – and days later, my version was born. This was the perfect opportunity to explore one of my favorite flavor combinations that I’ve been dreaming about: goat cheese and cherries!
Throw thyme into the mix, and throw your old cheesecake recipe out the door.
We already know I’m obsessed with fresh herbs and cocktails, and now that obsession has found its way into the world of desserts.
I can’t explain why this works so well together, but it just DOES. The goat cheese is tangy and totally balances the sweetness of the whole fact-that-you’re-eating-cheesecake situation. Of course, I’m partial to the cherries but you could go with virtually any fruit topping. Anne offeres a pineapple idea in her recipe which I think would pair nicely with the goat as well. But I do just love these cherries with the thyme…
I have a feeling this is going to become a signature dinner party dessert from me. Let’s just hope my guests love it as much as I do. If not, no worries – Daniel and I can totally take care of this one on our own.
Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Thyme-Infused Cherry Topping
- 2 cups gingersnap crumbs (about 35 cookies)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter
Goat Cheese Cheesecake:
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 10.5-ounce package/log goat cheese, room temperature
- 1 8-ounce package crème fraïche
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Thyme-Infused Cherry Topping:
- 4 cups fresh, pitted Bing cherries (reserve 1 cup for later)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- Flaked sea salt, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the crust: Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to butter a springform pan. Press gingersnap mixture into the bottom of the pan.
To make the cheesecake: Beat cream cheese and goat cheese using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in crème fraïche until combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice until combined. Pour mixture over crust and smooth the top. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, turning the pan once, until the cheesecake is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center (it will continue to set as it cools). Check periodically to see if the top of the cheesecake is browning – tent with foil if you notice this (clearly, I didn’t – no worries!).
To make the topping: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes, until the mixture reduces and thickens. Remove thyme sprigs and stir in reserved cherries.
Allow cheesecake to cool completely before serving. Even better if you can refrigerate over night, though a few solid hours will do the trick. Serve with cherry topping and a light sprinkling of sea salt. And bring me a slice, would you?