[Jay is helping Sam get back into the dating scene]
Sam Baldwin: What is “tiramisu”?
Jay: You’ll find out.
Sam Baldwin: Well, what is it?
Jay: You’ll see!
Sam Baldwin: Some woman is gonna want me to do it to her and I’m not gonna know what it is!
Tom Hanks’ character in Sleepless in Seattle feels about tiramisu the same way I do about cheesecake. What is cheesecake? Some sort of mysterious entity that seduces women (do we ever see men in Sara Lee commercials?), and dates back as far as ancient grecian times where it was served to athletes at the olympic games. From my past experience, cheesecake has usually translated as a heavy, rich and extremely filling affair. With a soggy biscuit base.
Despite this, every now and again a cheesecake comes along that makes me eat it, and my words. Lorraine Godsmark of Yellow Bistro makes the most divine New York style cheesecake, that I could eat any day. This one, by Kate Zuckerman from her fantastic book The Sweet Life is another contender : Goat Cheesecake enrobed in Hazelnut Brittle (my variation being the substitution of macadamia nuts for hazelnuts) is not only just as is described; tangy and light, but the mere words “enrobed” and “brittle” also had me hooked from the start.
Once the cheesecake is unmolded, the crunchy brittle is patted or pressed against the top and sides. You can serve this with a sauce or compote, but I like it on its own, as a silky, luxurious treat.
Goat Cheesecakes :
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
300g fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
140g creme fraiche
Preheat the oven to 150′C. Butter or oil individual ramekins or molds.
Combine the eggs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the goat cheese until smooth. Add the creme fraiche and whisk for 1 minute. Do not overmix or the cheesecake will have a grainy texture.
Spread the batter in the prepared molds. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking process, until the cheesecakes are set in the center or a thermometer in the center of the cheesecake reads between 65′C and 76′C. If the cheesecakes start to rise, remove them from the oven immediately.
Remove the cheesecakes from the oven and allow to cool. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes before removing from molds.
(For more cheesecake creations, check out Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.)