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Chèvre Cheesecake with Black Pepper–Graham Crust
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.
tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled slightly, divided
grams (1¾ cups) graham cracker crumbs
01Heat 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.
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