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Milk Street: The New NY Cheesecake! (Ep 514)

Chèvre Cheesecake with Black Pepper-Graham Crust
Start to finish: 21⁄2 hours (40 minutes active), plus cooling + refrigerating
Servings: 12 to 16

Angie Mar, chef/owner of Beatrice Inn in New York City, may be best known for her
artistry with all things meat, but we’re smitten with her chèvre cheesecake, the recipe for which is found in her book “Butcher + Beast.” Made with equal parts chèvre (fresh goat cheese) and cream cheese plus a generous measure of crème fraîche, the cake has the perfect amount of savoriness and tanginess—and a surprisingly light texture despite its richness. In addition to scaling Mar’s recipe to fit into a standard 9-inch springform, we mixed lemon zest into the filling to lift the flavor and add citrusy notes that play off the black pepper in the crust. The best way to gauge doneness of the cake is with an instant thermometer inserted through the side (in the area where the filling has risen above the pan), with the probe angled slightly down and to the center; 145°F to 150°F is the finished temperature. To cut clean slices, warm the knife blade by dipping it into a pitcher of hot water; wipe the blade dry before and after each cut and rewarm it as needed. Covered tightly with foil and refrigerated, the cheesecake keeps well for up to four days, though the crust softens over time.

Don’t forget to allow the cheeses to warm to cool room temperature before mixing. If they’re refrigerator-cold, the filling is more likely to wind up with lumps. Note that this
recipe involves multiple oven settings: 300°F, 450°F, off (with the cake still inside
and the door propped open) and 250°F. Don’t forget to run a knife around the cheesecake after the cake has cooled for 10 minutes—this helps prevent cracking.

7 tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled slightly, divided
195 grams (13⁄4 cups) graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon plus 156 grams (3⁄4 cup) white sugar, divided
1⁄2 teaspoon table salt, divided
454 grams (1 pound) fresh goat cheese (chèvre), cool room temperature
Two 8-ounce (226-gram) packages cream cheese, cool room temperature
Two 8-ounce (226-gram) containers crème fraîche, cool room temperature
112 grams (1⁄3 cup) honey
4 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, cool room temperature
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Heat the oven to 300°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Brush the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with 11⁄2 teaspoons of melted butter; reserve the brush. In a large bowl, stir together the cracker crumbs, pepper, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Add 6 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter and stir until evenly moistened. Transfer to the prepared pan and use the bottom of a ramekin or dry measuring cup to firmly press into an even layer. Bake until the crust is fragrant and golden, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until barely warm, 15 to 20 minutes.

Brush the inside walls of the pan with the remaining 11⁄2 teaspoons of melted butter, then set on a rimmed baking sheet. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the goat cheese and cream cheese on
medium until creamy, airy and well combined, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl and paddle once or twice. Add the remaining 156 grams (3⁄4 cup) sugar and the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, then beat on medium-high until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl and paddle halfway through.

With the mixer on medium-low, gradually add the crème fraîche, followed by the honey. Scrape the bowl and paddle. With the mixer on low, add the whole eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition and scraping the bowl and paddle after the first 2 eggs. Add the yolks and beat until fully incorporated.

Detach the bowl from the mixer, and use a spatula to stir in the lemon zest, scraping the bottom of the bowl, until evenly distributed. Pour into the springform pan; the pan may be filled to the rim. If necessary, smooth the surface with the spatula.

Bake the cheesecake on the baking sheet for 20 minutes; the filling will have risen above the rim of the pan and the surface will be golden. Turn off the oven and prop open the door with the handle of a wooden spoon for 10 minutes; the surface of the cake will darken slightly during this time.

Close the oven door and heat the oven to 250°F. Continue to bake until the center reaches 145°F to 150°F (insert an instant-read thermometer through the side of cake, in the area where it has risen above the pan, with the probe slightly angled down so the tip is at the center of the cake), 35 to 40 minutes.

Set the baking sheet with the cheesecake on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Run a narrow-bladed knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen the sides, then cool for 11⁄2 to 2 hours; the cake will deflate slightly as it cools. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, at least 6 hours or up to overnight (if refrigerating for longer than 3 hours, cover tightly with foil after the cheesecake is fully chilled). Remove the pan sides before slicing.

Yogurt Loaf Cake with Coriander and Orange
Start to finish: 1 hour (15 minutes active), plus cooling
Makes one 81⁄2-inch loaf cake

In France, gâteau au yaourt is a dead-simple anytime cake that uses an entire container of yogurt, then employs the empty container as the measuring device for the flour, sugar and oil. The crumb is fine and moist, similar to a pound cake, but not nearly as rich. Since there is no standardized sizing for yogurt in the U.S., we devised a recipe with conventional measurements. Toasting the coriander softens its flavor and brings out its aroma; in a small skillet over medium, toast the spice, stirring often, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer to a small bowl or plate to cool. Macerated fresh berries are the perfect accompaniment to the cake. Toss sliced fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries with a little sugar and let stand until juicy. Tightly wrapped and stored at room temperature, the cake will keep for up to three days.

Don’t forget to flour the loaf pan after misting it with cooking spray to ensure the cake doesn’t stick. Make sure to invert the baked cake out of the pan after about 10 minutes of cooling. This will help prevent sticking as well as prevent the sides from becoming too moist. The cake will cool faster, too.

228 grams (13⁄4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander, toasted (see headnote)
1⁄4 teaspoon table salt
3 large eggs
214 grams (1 cup) white sugar, plus 2 teaspoons for sprinkling
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
120 grams (1⁄2 cup) plain whole-milk yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil

Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Mist a 81⁄2-by-41⁄2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, dust evenly with flour, then tap out the excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, coriander and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, 214 grams (1 cup) sugar and orange zest until well combined and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Add the yogurt and vanilla, then whisk until
well combined. Add the oil and whisk until homogeneous. Add the flour mixture and whisk just until no streaks remain. The batter will be very fluid.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted at the center of the cake comes out with few crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack, lift off the pan and turn the loaf upright. Cool completely, about 11⁄2 hours, before slicing and serving.

You can watch  past episodes of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street on WSKG Passport.

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To see other recipes from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street and other shows, visit  Cooking with WSKG.