Most recipes you make a lot tend to change and develop as you continue to make them. This cheesecake is a perfect example – my original take on it was much more complicated and made enough for 8 servings. This week my friends Matt and Jim have been staying with me and Jim, in particular, is a big Cheese cake fan so I thought I would make them my favorite Cheesecake recipe. It’s been an exhausted couple of weeks so I wanted to make this in the most simple and straight forward way possible – so instead of making 8 I made 6 – I didn’t coat the ramekins or have a hot water bath like the original recipe calls for. I didn’t even add the nuts to the caramel – I ground the both up separately and mixed them together. All in all it took about 15 minutes and the results – well, lets just say they were popular.Here’s my update take on this now classic (in this house) recipe. It now is much closer to the source material (I should never question Kate Zuckerman!)
Butter 6 – 4 ounce ramekins.
Preheat the oven to 300 F
In a large bowl add 1/2 cup of Sugar, 1 large Egg, 1 large Egg Yolk, 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla and a pinch of Salt. Whisk for 2 minutes.
Then add 10 1/2 ounces of Goat Cheese and 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons of Crème Fraîche, whisk until smooth.
Pour into prepared ramekins and bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes.
While baking making praline:
In a food processor add 1/2 cup Hazelnuts, pulse until finely ground – reserve.
In a heavy bottomed pot add 1 cup Sugar, 1/8 teaspoon Cream of Tartar and 1/3 cup Water cover and bring to a boil (you can tell it’s boiling usually when you see steam escaping the lid but feel free to peak) once boiling remove lid turn down heat to a simmer and let cook until the mixture turns a golden caramel color. Remove from heat and pour into a buttered baking sheet or Silpat and let cool. When cool and hard break into pieces and put them into the Food Processor, grind until mostly fine (see picture) add ground caramel to the Hazelnut nuts and mix well.
The cheesecakes are done when they are set – the middle will still have a slight juggle. Remove from oven, cool on a rack then refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Take a knife and rim the perimeter of each ramekin to help loosen the cheesecakes. Turn over and with a little force tap again your counter top – mostly these will not come our in perfect shape a little cheesecake usually sticks to the inside of the ramekin – not a problem just scoops it out and mold it back onto the cake. Take a palm full of praline and pat it over the top and sides of the cake. This process will allow you to even out any imperfections.