Friday, June 14, 2013

Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Vanilla Pineapple Compote

YUM.  Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Vanilla Pineapple Compote.  This is seriously delicious.  My dinner group recently got together, and the theme this time was "gourmet picnic".  I was on my own that weekend, as Mr. Clever Mom was traveling, so I had both kids thus very little time to devote to being in the kitchen.  I  knew I had to make something that could be put together pretty easily, which can be a tall order for anything "gourmet".  But then I thought of cheesecake.  Cheesecake is one of those things you mix together and then just throw in the oven.  But I had to fancy it up a bit, so I found this recipe for Goat Cheese Cheesecake and man, am I glad I did!  I am not actually a cheesecake fan.  I never order it for dessert and never make them.  But I was intrigued by the goat cheese idea so I went with it.  Wow.  If all cheesecake was like this, I might be a convert!

The blend of cream cheese and goat cheese makes this cheesecake light and fluffy, and super creamy.  The crust is made of crushed gingersnap cookies, which really blends well with the goat cheese and the compote.  Let's not forget this amazing compote.  I personally would probably call this a syrup as opposed to a compote, but let's not distract from the point... this syrup/compote/whatever is delish!  Yes, the cheesecake would be fantastic without it, but the addition of these flavors takes the cheesecake OVER THE TOP.  And again, very easy to make.  I win!  One of my foodie friends in the dinner group claimed it was the most delicious thing he had eaten in a very long time.  That's high praise from him!  Success!

To be perfectly honest, I had Mr. Clever Mom make the compote before he went out of town.  It can be made in advance so he made it for me and then put it in the refrigerator for me to bring to the dinner party.  For clarification, it was made on a Thursday night and the party was on Saturday.  Anyway, listen to the ingredients of this syrup/compote concoction:

brown sugar (off to a good start!)

water (ho-hum)

rum (now we are talking!)

vanilla beans (mmmm)

lemon (zip-a-dee-do-da)

pineapple (yum)

Really, with a mixture like that, yumminess is a guarantee!

I didn't take any photos of the syrup/compote making, but it is very straightforward.   The one thing I wonder...  Would it be more compote-like if you reduced the water amount???  Next time I make this (and there WILL be a next time) this is what I will do.  I will reduce the water amount significantly.  The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups, and I'll try more like 1/2 to 3/4 cup.  You can always add more, right?  We'll see if that might help this compote be more compote-like.

Anyway, here we go with the cheesecake:

First, you make the crust.  This involves mixing gingersnap crumbs (I probably should have ground mine a bit more fine), melted butter, sugar and salt.  Butter the springform pan and then press the gingersnap mixture onto the bottom and about halfway up the sides.  I might make more gingersnap crust next time. I felt like it barely coated enough on the sides, though that could be because my gingersnaps weren't fine enough crumbs.

Next, beat the cream cheese and goat cheese together until light and fluffy.

Add the creme fraiche and beat to combine.  Again, I made my own creme fraiche here.  It is so easy and WAY cheaper than buying it at the store!  Just mix one tablespoon of buttermilk with one cup of heavy cream and let it sit on the counter for 12-24 hours, until it is thick.  Then refrigerate for a day and you are ready!  Don't buy creme fraiche!  Make your own!

Add the eggs, one at a time,

then blend in the sugar and vanilla.  I used my homemade vanilla!  Yum!

Pour it into the prepared pan.  Here is where I veered from the recipe as it was written.  The recipe had you just stick that pan into the oven to bake.  I have always seen cheesecake recipes that have you bake the cheesecake in a water bath with a process that involves being in the oven with the oven on, then with the oven off, then cooling on the counter, and THEN refrigerating.  This is the route I took.  The recipe probably works fine the way it was written, but my way did turn out pretty well!

It's done!  No cracks on top!

Mmm, ready to slice!

Place some vanilla pineapple compote/syrup on the side, and you are ready for an amazing treat!

Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Vanilla Pineapple Compote
adapted from Anne Burrell, Food Network

2 cups gingersnap crumbs
6 TB melted butter, plus extra butter for pan
1/4 cup sugar
pinch salt

2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (12-oz.) log goat cheese
12 ounces creme fraiche or sour cream (make your own creme fraiche!!)
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup rum
2 vanilla beans, split, seeds scraped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 ripe pineapple, top, skin and core removed, cut into bite-sized wedges

Preheat the oven to 325F.

To make the crust:
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan.  Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of the pan, and halfway up the sides.  Set aside.

To make the filling:
Beat the cream cheese and goat cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.  Add the creme fraiche and beat until combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg is added, until thoroughly mixed.   Beat in the sugar and vanilla until just combined.

Pour the filling into the prepared pan.  Wrap bottom of pan with 2-3 sheets of heavy duty foil and place in a large roasting pan (large enough that the springform pan fits inside the roasting pan without touching on any sides).  Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it is halfway up the sides of the springform pan.  Bake at 325F for 45 minutes.  Turn off the oven and leave the pan inside.  Coolnside the oven for 1 hour.  Cool on the counter for another 30 minutes.  Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight.

To make the compote:
Combine the brown sugar, water, rum, and vanilla beans (seeds and open beans) in a saucepan or large saute (not a skillet but the kind with straight sides) pan over medium heat.  Add the lemon juiice and stir.  Bring to a simmer, add the pineapple and stir until mixed.  Simmer until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency and the pineapple is soft.  Let cool and serve with cheesecake or other yummy desserts!
Printable recipe

This recipe takes cheesecake to a whole new level.  Give it a try.  You might convert some non-cheesecake lovers like me!


  1. That looks so yummy Sharron!

  2. I want to try this! (And I am not a cheesecake fan...)


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