Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Got Your Goat: Goat Cheesecake Enrobed in Hazelnut Brittle

I am not always a fan of cheesecake- it seems too heavy after a big meal, but I just received a mini cheesecake pan as a gift, and this recipe looked like a delicious way to try it out.  This cheesecake is lighter than traditional cream cheese cake with a little tang because of the goat cheese.  The mini cheesecake pan is a great invention, each individual holder has a removable bottom- and it made the perfect size cheesecakes- just a few bites.  This recipe is a little time consuming- the cheesecake part is fairly straightforward, but the hazelnut brittle takes a little time. The brittle is worth the time, however, because it adds the finishing touch to the mini cakes, and the leftover brittle could be mixed in brownies or sprinkled on ice cream or even fresh fruit.

Goat Cheesecake Enrobed in Hazelnut Brittle from The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckerman
Goat Cheesecake
1 egg
1 egg yolk
½ cup sugar
pinch of salt
10.5 ounces fresh goat cheese at room temperature
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons crème fraiche
½ recipe hazelnut brittle

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter or oil a 6 inch springform pan, or six 4 inch ramekins or individual cupcake molds, or a mini cheesecake pan. Combine the egg, egg yolk, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and whisk for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the goat cheese until smooth. Add the crème fraiche and whisk for 1 minute. Do not overmix.

Pour the batter in the prepared pan or mold. If using a springform pan, wrap a large piece of aluminum foil around the outside, making sure the foil fully encases the pan so once you set the pan in a deep water bath, none of the water seeps in.  Place the foil wrapped pan in a roasting pan and fill with water so that it comes up 1 ½ inches yp the side of the pan.  Bake until the center is set, approximately 40 minutes (or a thermometer placed in the center reads between 150 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit).  If you are baking individual cheesecakes, a water bath is not required.  Bake the individual cheesecakes 20-24 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking process.  If the cheesecakes start to rise, remove them from the oven immediately.

Remove cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan or before removing from individual molds. Pat the ground hazelnut brittle onto the top and sides of the cheesecake.  This keeps refrigerated for 4 days.

Hazelnut Brittle
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup finely ground hazelnuts
¼ teaspoon finely ground sea salt

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 17x 11 baking pan with parchment paper. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, 1/3 cup water, and the cream of tartar.  Cover and cook over high heat until the syrup comes to a very rapid boil. Remove the cover and continue to cook on medium-high heat until the sugar has turned a golden brown caramel color.  Remove from heat, pour onto the prepared baking pan and cool.

When the caramel is cool, break it into 1 inch pieces.  Place in a food processor or coffee grinder and grind to the consistency of granular sugar. Stir in the ground nuts.

Reline the baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread the caramel/nut mixture on the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake until caramel melts and begins to bubble, about 4-6 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle the salt evenly over the melted caramel.  When cool, break into small pieces and grind coarsely to use to enrobe the cheesecake. This makes much more than needed for the cheesecake.  It will keep for 2 weeks in a cool, dry place. ((post by susan))

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