Copyright Thomas Saaristo  All Rights Reserved
Goat cheese cheesecake
You might think a cheesecake made with goat cheese, topped with bittersweet
chocolate ganache and adorned with candied black walnuts would be pushing the
limit on bitter, but there is enough sweetness to balance all that bitter out while not
hiding it completely


For the crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup very cold butter, cut into 1 tablespoon size pats
2 tablespoons honey

For the filling
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 pounds goat cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 whole eggs
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the ganache
8 ounces premium bittersweet chocolate, bars or buttons, chopped
8 ounces heavy cream

For the candied black walnuts
2 cups raw black walnuts
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon Extra fine salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

For the candied black walnuts
Butter a large baking pan. Combine nuts, sugar and water in a heavy saucepan over
medium heat. Cook and stir until mixture crystallizes, about 15 minutes. Spread pecans
on the prepared baking pan and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn with an
oiled metal spatula and bake an additional 15 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight
container until ready to use

For the crust
Place the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, butter and honey into the bowl of a
food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Pulse in 1 second intervals 5
times then in 1 second intervals until a mostly even crumb is achieved

Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 1o inch springform pan.
Place the prepared crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling

For the filling
Add the cheeses, sugar, and sour cream to the bowl of a food processor fitted with
the metal chopping blade and blend until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time until
incorporated. Dissolve the cornstarch in the cream and add to the cream cheese
mixture. Fold in the vanilla. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake for 1
hour. After the cake is removed from the oven, run a knife around the edges of the
pan to prevent the cake from cracking. Cool to room temperature before covering and
refrigerating at least 1 hour

For the ganache
Place cream in a saucepan over high heat and bring just to a boil, then remove the pan
from the heat. Meanwhile, chop chocolate into small pieces. Place a damp towel on
your counter, place pan of hot cream on the towel then add chopped chocolate to the
cream. Beat chocolate and cream vigorously until thoroughly mixed. The mixture will
solidify as it cools. The time it takes to cool will vary depending on the room
temperature and temperature of your pan. You may place the pan in a larger pan of
ice water to cool the mixture just until it comes to spreading consistency. Remove
from the ice bath at this point to make sure it doesn't harden too much

Final assembly and serving
Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator. Pipe the chocolate ganache in
concentric circles around the top of the cheesecake. Then, drag a toothpick through
the glaze from the outer edge to the center of the cheesecake in 10 places to create a
scalloped look

Slice cheesecake into wedges, plate and garnish with candied black walnuts

Goat cheese cheesecake gets better with age. Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to
10 days or in a zero degrees Fahrenheit freezer indefinitely