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Angie Mar lightens the cream cheese classic with tangy goat cheese
Milk Street Bowtie Chèvre Cheesecake with Black Pepper–Graham Crust

Chèvre Cheesecake with Black Pepper–Graham Crust

2½ hours 40 minutes active, plus cooling and refrigerating

Chèvre Cheesecake with Black Pepper–Graham Crust

Free

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 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.

7½ tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled slightly, divided
195 grams (1¾ cups) graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon plus 156 grams (¾ cup) white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
454 grams (1 pound) fresh goat cheese (chèvre), cool room temperature
2 8-ounce (226-gram) packages cream cheese, cool room temperature
2 8-ounce (226-gram) containers crème fraîche, cool room temperature
112 grams (⅓ cup) honey
4 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, cool room temperature
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Ingredients
  • tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled slightly, divided

  • 195

    grams (1¾ cups) graham cracker crumbs

  • 1

    teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1

    teaspoon plus 156 grams (¾ cup) white sugar, divided

  • 1

    teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 454

    grams (1 pound) fresh goat cheese (chèvre), cool room temperature

  • 2

    8-ounce (226-gram) packages cream cheese, cool room temperature

  • 2

    8-ounce (226-gram) containers crème fraîche, cool room temperature

  • 112

    grams (⅓ cup) honey

  • 4

    large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, cool room temperature

  • 1

    tablespoon grated lemon zest

Directions
  1. 01
    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 1½ teaspoons of melted butter; reserve the brush. In a large bowl, stir together the cracker crumbs, pepper, 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ 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.
    See Demo
    Chèvre Cheesecake with Black Pepper–Graham Crust Step 1
  2. 02
    Brush the inside walls of the pan with the remaining 1½ 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 (¾ cup) sugar and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, then beat on medium-high until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl and paddle halfway through.
    See Demo
    Chèvre Cheesecake with Black Pepper–Graham Crust Step 2
  3. 03
    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.
    See Demo
    Chèvre Cheesecake with Black Pepper–Graham Crust Step 3
  4. 04
    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.
    See Demo
    Chèvre Cheesecake with Black Pepper–Graham Crust Step 4
  5. 05
    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.
    See Demo
    Chèvre Cheesecake with Black Pepper–Graham Crust Step 5
  6. 06
    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.
  7. 07
    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 1½ 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.
    See Demo
    Chèvre Cheesecake with Black Pepper–Graham Crust Step6
Tip: 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.
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Chèvre Cheesecake with Black Pepper–Graham Crust

Get Ready to Cook

12-16

Servings

2½ hours

40 minutes active, plus cooling and refrigerating

Tip

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.

Ingredients
  • tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled slightly, divided

  • 195

    grams (1¾ cups) graham cracker crumbs

  • 1

    teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1

    teaspoon plus 156 grams (¾ cup) white sugar, divided

  • 1

    teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 454

    grams (1 pound) fresh goat cheese (chèvre), cool room temperature

  • 2

    8-ounce (226-gram) packages cream cheese, cool room temperature

  • 2

    8-ounce (226-gram) containers crème fraîche, cool room temperature

  • 112

    grams (⅓ cup) honey

  • 4

    large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, cool room temperature

  • 1

    tablespoon grated lemon zest

Step 1 of 7

Prepare and Bake Crust

tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled slightly
195
grams (1¾ cups) graham cracker crumbs
1
teaspoon ground black pepper
1
teaspoon white sugar
½
teaspoon kosher salt

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 1½ teaspoons of melted butter; reserve the brush.


In a large bowl, stir together the cracker crumbs, pepper, 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ 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.

Step 2 of 7

Begin Cheese Mixture

454
grams (1 pound) fresh goat cheese (chèvre), cool room temperature
2
8-ounce (226-gram) packages cream cheese, cool room temperature
156
grams (¾ cup) white sugar
½
teaspoon kosher salt

Brush the inside walls of the pan with the remaining 1½ 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 (¾ cup) sugar and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, then beat on medium-high until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl and paddle halfway through.

Step 3 of 7

Add Crème Fraîche and Honey

2
8-ounce (226-gram) containers crème fraîche, cool room temperature
112
grams (⅓ cup) honey
4
large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, cool room temperature

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.

Step 4 of 7

Pour Mixture into Pan

1
tablespoon grated lemon zest

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.

Step 5 of 7

Bake Cheese

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.

Step 6 of 7

Check Cheesecake Temperature

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.

Step 7 of 7

Cool Cheesecake

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 1½ 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.

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