We all have our moments. Excitement distracts us from the task at hand, and small yet important details get thrown to the wayside. And so it happened one Tuesday evening…
For a week I’d been jumping out of my skin in anticipation of making this cheesecake. The excitement stemmed from the combination of fresh goat cheese and roasted beets, and of course the fact that it was going to be bright pink could not be overlooked.
It all went smoothly. Easy to make, super easy in fact. The house smelled AMAZING. The cake came out pink, so no loss of color. But that was when I failed to remember my trusty tips to prevent cheesecake cracking. Oh the sadness!
Next time I will pull my head out my butt and remember these three safeguards:
1. Always grease the pan. The cheesecake will contract as it cools, and this will aid in its release.
2. After cheesecake has cooled for 5m, run a paring knife around the edges of the cake to, again, aid in its release from the pan as it contracts.
3. Don’t over bake and use the ‘jiggle test’. Remove cake when the outside is firm, and the center slightly jiggles. If you want to get all ‘technical’ about it, the cake shouldn’t exceed 160F (71C) in the center. Use a thermometer if you want to sully its beauty.
But does a cracked cheesecake trump the taste??? Certainly not! The cake turned out to be exquisite! The flavor combination was incredible, and so smooth. I tasted goat cheese, then just beets, then both at the same time. Why did I agree to send the whole thing to the Significant Other’s office for tasting?!?! Oh well, guess I’ll have to make another one.
Beet and Chèvre Cheesecake Recipe
1 1/2 c (140g) graham crackers, ground (about 20 1/2-size squares)
5 tbsp (75g) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp butter for pan greasin’
1 1/2 large beets (240g) to equal 1c of puree
16 oz (435g) cream cheese, room temp
8 oz (150g) fresh chèvre, room temp
1 c (190g) sugar
Preheat oven to 400F (205C). Wrap beets in foil, and roast for 45 to 60m until soft. Let cool until they can be handled. Peel the beets and puree. Add a bit of water to processor one tbsp at a time if needed to get a smooth consistency. Boiling the beets will be faster, but there will be a loss of flavor and color, which would be a sizable gastronomic travesty just above pancake-wrapped sausages.
Preheat oven to 350F (177F). Grease 9″ spring form pan with butter. Combine ground graham crackers, sugar and melted butter with fork. Gently press graham crust into thin layer on the bottom of pan, and work up the sides. The crust does not need to reach more than 1″ up the sides of the pan. Bake for 5m. Let cool.
The rest is simple. Using mixer, beat together cheeses and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add 1 c beat puree and mix. Pour batter into crust and bake for 45 to 50m until firm around the edges, and there is a very slight jiggle in the middle. Let cool 5m, then run a paring knife around the edges to loosen cake from the pan. This will prevent the awful cracking that I endured.
Once cheesecake is at room temp, refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. For clean cuts, use either dental floss (yup, that’s right) or heat up a long knife in hot water, dry it and cut the cake. Repeat this process for every cut.