Fresh Chevre Cheesecake Recipe

http://www.motherearthnews.com//real-food/fresh-chevre-cheesecake-recipe-zbcz1404.aspx

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Made from creamy chevre (fresh goat cheese) instead of the typical cream cheese, this surprising cheesecake is sure to please cheese lovers and dessert lovers alike.

The tanginess of the goat cheese is balanced by the incomparable sweetness of honey. Earthy vanilla bean and refreshing orange zest round out the flavor profile, while a crumbly, homemade graham-cracker crust provides the prefect contrast in texture.

Cooking the cheesecake in a water bath at a moderate temperature and allowing a slow and gentle cool-down in a turned-off oven help prevent the dreaded surface crack that wrecks the top of so many otherwise glorious cheesecakes.

I like to top mine off with a mini-mound of dark chocolate chips, but chocolate sauce, cajeta, or macerated berries would also make delightful toppings.

Fresh Chevre Cheesecake Recipe

7 oz graham crackers, preferably homemade
2 tbsp melted butter (plus extra butter for the pan)
2 tbsp brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
10.5 oz fresh goat cheese, room temperature (set on the counter for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours)
1 tsp orange freshly grated zest (be sure to avoid the white pith)
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
1/3 cup honey
2 large eggs, room temperature
Dark chocolate chips for serving, if desired

Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 6-inch spring-form pan. Wrap the pan tightly in a double-layer of aluminum foil, pressing the foil into place just underneath the lip of the pan so that the foil does not extend to the inside. Make sure your top oven rack is positioned in the center of your oven, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the graham crackers in a food processor and process or pulse into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and brown sugar and process just to combine.

Press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom and 2 to 3 inches up the sides of the prepared pan. Set aside.

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Using an electric stand mixer for best results, beat the fresh goat cheese, along with the orange zest and vanilla-bean seeds, until smooth. Add the honey and beat until smooth.

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Add one egg at a time, beating well to incorporate after each. Don’t worry if the mixture looks just a bit curdled—this is normal.

Pour the goat-cheese mixture into the prepared crust, and place the pan in the center of a tall-sided roasting pan large enough to accommodate it. Use a pitcher to carefully pour enough warm water in the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the foil-wrapped pan, making sure not to splash water into the cheesecake. 

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Carefully place the roasting pan in the oven and bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes. Turn off the oven, and allow the cheesecake to remain in the oven as it cools, about two hours.

Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven, lift the spring-form pan out of its water bath, and place on a dry kitchen towel. Before transferring the cheesecake to the fridge to cool completely and store, place a dry paper towel over the top to absorb any excess steam that may be released and cover with plastic wrap or foil. Chill at least one hour or until ready to serve (up to 5 days).

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A mound of dark chocolate chips on top makes an excellent and hassle-free complement to this sweet and tangy twist on cheesecake. 

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