Friday, August 24, 2007

goat-cheese cheesecake with gingersnap-hazelnut crust and blood-orange caramel

I hardly ever follow recipes to the letter anymore. Which, when I'm making dinner, generally works out fine because I know enough techniques and flavor combos to throw something decent together. But I don't really have the pastry skills to make that work with dessert. So I'll improvise in a sort of modular way, using made-up elements and components of various recipes. The goat-cheese cheesecake recipe I used was crustless and baked in six ramekins, but I like cookie crusts with my cheesecakes and I wanted to use my springform pan. So I made up a gingersnap-and-hazelnut crust (delish!), made extra filling (good call) and sort of guessed on the baking time. I think I overdid it by about 10 minutes -- it was a bit too much on the cakey side, rather than the creamy/silky side. Live and learn. But even when cheesecake isn't technically flawless, it's still cheesecake. You can't truly screw it up.

I also used the blood-orange caramel called for in the original recipe. But I tweaked that too: I added a good fat pinch of sea salt, and instead of taking it off the heat after adding the orange juice, I let it reduce for a few minutes (mine was inexplicably runny), and I finished it with a bit of butter - maybe a tablespoon or so - which deepened the flavor. Perfect. It plays off the tanginess of the cheesecake. I will be using this caramel recipe to accompany many desserts in the future. In fact, I made a double batch and we had some this morning, accompanying peaches as a crepe filling. (Hooray, dessert-as-breakfast!) And that hazelnut brittle in the original recipe? I will trying that in the future too.



Blogger Judy said...

I have never made cheesecake, but from what I understand, it can be rather tricky. Sounds like you did a great job - and you're right, even when imperfect, it's still cheesecake!

2:39 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I'm such a big fan of goat cheese that I'd try it in a dessert too! I agree that a cheesecake calls out for a crust. Congrats on successfully reinventing a complicated recipe!

When are we going to hear about your trip to Montreal?!

7:31 AM  
Blogger lis said...

the blood orange caramel sounds great--too bad I'm such an idiot with caramel. One day I'll actually get it right without burning my entire arm off.

7:38 PM  

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