A friend of the Accidental Locavore saw this recipe in the New York Times and asked for someone to make it. I added a graham cracker crust, my favorite part of any cheesecake and used my own crème fraîche. I generally like my cheesecake plain, but if sour cherries are in season, they’re a great addition. This comes together easily and the sauce can be made a day ahead of time.
Adapted from the NY Times, it takes about an hour and a half plus cooling time.
For the crust (optional):
- 15 graham crackers
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
For the cheesecake:
- 1 1/2 cups cream cheese (in other words, 1 1/2 packages of cream cheese)
- 1/2 cup fresh goat cheese (something mild)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups crème fraîche
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 pints sour cherries, pitted (if you don’t have a cherry pitter, use the flat part of a big knife and pound them, just like pitting olives. It can get messy)
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter a 9″ springform pan and set aside. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor until they are fine crumbs. With the food processor running, add the melted butter and pulse until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides. Place on a baking sheet.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and goat cheese until very smooth. Add the sugar and continue beating until no lumps remain. Beat in the crème fraîche and vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between eggs and beat until combined.
Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 250 degrees and bake until the cake is just set (it will still wobble a little in the middle), 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. When cool, refrigerate until ready to serve.
While the cheesecake is cooling, or the day before, make the cherry topping. Pour the sugar and 2/3 cup water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the cherries and balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cherries soften and release their juices, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cherries to a bowl. Continue cooking the liquid in the pan until the sauce reduces by half, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and stir back in the cherries and any juice from the bowl.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the pan before unmolding and serve with the cherry topping.
I made this in a 9″ springform pan for the party and a small ramekin so my friend could taste it. Both came out fine, so feel free if you want to make mini cheesecakes.
Yield: One 9-inch cheesecake.