It all started with the cute little ramekins my sister gave me for my birthday. They just screamed “mini dessert!” Somehow, mini desserts turned into mini cheesecakes and then goat cheese cheesecakes and then, finally, lemon goat cheese cheesecakes. Say that three times fast!
I scanned a few recipes online and then winged it. I feel like you can do that with cheesecake more than other desserts, and I like it!
I started with a sleeve of graham crackers, crushing them to bits in my mini food processor.
Then, I mixed the graham cracker dust with several teaspoons of melted butter. I probably needed to use more, but I just eyeballed it. Make sure the crumbs are crumbly, kind of like wet sand, and press them into the bottom of your ramekins or plate.
I baked the crusts for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. I think next time I would bake them for a bit longer, maybe 12-15 minutes, so the crusts were golden brown. Or, I might leave the crust out together. While it was good, the cake didn’t even need it.
While the crusts were baking, I zested and juiced one giant lemon. To my delight, this lemon was juicy and flavorful, a contrast to many of the dry citrus fruits I have eaten lately. As a result, the flavor of lemon really came through.
To make the cake batter, I mixed six ounces of softened goat cheese with a brick of Neufchatel cheese that had been microwaved for 10 seconds. I stirred and stirred until the cheeses were blended, adding in two eggs as well as the lemon zest and juice and then really mixing the batter until smooth, yellow, and fragrant with the scent of lemon. Instead of adding a cup or more of sugar, as most recipes called for, I added two teaspoons. I wanted the flavor focus to be on the tartness of the lemon and the tang of the goat cheese, not sugar.
I filled each of the ramekins with cheesecake batter, then put them in a 325 oven for 32 minutes.
Once they were cooked, the tops looked solid, and the filling didn’t move when the ramekins were shaken. I couldn’t help but take a small bite of my “test” ramekin, and even hot, the cheesecake was fluffy, like a lemony custard. I had to have a few bites and ended up burning my tongue in the process. It was so worth it!
The cheesecakes were, of course, better once cooled. I was actually able to tip them out of the ramekins into dessert bowls. Success!
The cooled cheesecakes were rich and creamy but refreshing due to the lemon. The goat cheese made all the difference. I do believe goat cheese is one of my favorite dessert ingredients. Next time? I am making honey and lavender goat cheese cheesecakes. Stay tuned!
Do you like cheesecake? If so, what kind? And with what toppings?