So, yesterday I told you that my friend, M, at Read Eat Write Run asked me to come up with a Gluten Free Cheesecake recipe using goat cheese. Challenge accepted! I love to spend my runs trying to figure out a recipe – it gives my gerbil brain something to focus on. (Maybe that’s why I fall down so often.) Anyway, I thought about it during my morning long run, went to the store, and then came up with exactly how to execute it (I hoped) during my second short run.
I was assuming M wanted the goat cheese to be the only cheese in the cheesecake rather than just a component. I’ve seen a lot of cheesecake recipes that use goat cheese along with the traditional cream cheese/mascarpone/creme fraiche, but I hadn’t seen one that used goat cheese as the only cheese. Hmmm… I did a bit of Googling and found one at Bon Appetit, but it was crustless and used quite a bit of sugar. That wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted, no, I needed crust. And one of the reasons I’m not a big fan of cheesecake (sorry, did I not confess that earlier?) is that it is super rich AND cloyingly sweet. Ugh, So this recipe was simultaneously too, too little (no crust) and too, too much (sugar). And it wasn’t gluten free. No go.
Bottom line: I wanted to create a cheesecake that was still hubbahubba yum, but didn’t make me want to lie down on a curb after I ate it (don’t say you’ve never thought about it after leaving The Cheesecake Factory). This meant that I needed to come up with a crust that was gluten free (for M) and nutritious and full of texture (for me), and a cake that turned the spotlight on goat cheese (for M) and kept the sweetness level behind the scenes (for me).
(Cheesecake batter baked in cupcake liners in case you don’t want crust. But please want crust.)
And this recipe is what I came up with. It is light, bright, sweet-in-a-good-way, and so creamy good! I ate a piece after I made it (I had to do quality control) and 2 pieces this morning after my run (photography requires commitment). And I think I will have another piece after my afternoon run. So there. Hope you enjoy it, too!
Thanks for the challenge, M!
Cook’s Notes: This ended up being the perfect post-run treat because it has a perfect ratio of carbs (dates, honey, maple syrup) and protein (walnuts, eggs, cheese).
Gluten Free Chevre Cheesecake
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups walnuts
20 pitted Medjool dates
pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
For the cake:
3 Tablespoons raw honey (the solid kind)
12 ounces fresh soft chevre (goat cheese) at room temperature
zest of one lemon
juice from half a lemon
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated
3 Tablespoons gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the crust: Chop walnuts in a food processor. Add the dates, then salt and maple syrup (if using). Mix until a ball forms. Remove and press into a greased (butter, spray, coconut oil) 9″ pie or springform pan. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes then put in the freezer to cool.
Prepare the cake: Beat goat cheese, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. In 2 new bowls, separate eggs. Set aside egg whites.
Beat in egg yolks one at a time until blended, scraping down the sides as you go. Reduce speed to low, and add flour one tablespoon at a time until blended.
Wash and dry beaters. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into mixture, 1/3 of the batch at a time. When mixture is blended, pour into cooled pie crust. Cut out a piece of aluminum foil in a circular pattern to ring the outside crust of the pie (you don’t want it to brown any further).
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the top is set but slightly jiggly in the center. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Serve with fresh berries or a glass of wine.
Now go run!